Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Check out one of the facebook groups already up and running:
Joe Stack was a troubled man who resorted to an act of violence, but as I predicted, a great many Americans share his rage.
This is troubling. Too many feel that there country is only out to hurt them. This is not likely to lead to anything good.
The pilot, identified as Joseph Andrew Stack, 53, was presumed dead. Emergency crews found a body in the building Thursday night, but Police Chief Art Acevedo declined to say whether it was the pilot.
Authorities said Stack was a software engineer who apparently had some tax problems. His northwest Austin home was set on fire before the crash.
Stack also owned a single-engine Piper Cherokee.
Stack's neighbors described him as a mystery man, NPR's John Burnett tells Robert Siegel.
"He didn't mix with his neighbors very much at all," Burnett said. "Most of what they learned about him was this morning at 9 o'clock when the fire went up, and his wife and their daughter, who they estimate to be about 12 years old, were distraught and screaming and went into a neighbor's house."
Investigators were looking closely at a posting on a Web site registered to a Joe Stack of San Marcos, Texas, that contained a lengthy, self-described "rant" attacking the federal tax system as unfair.
This is, in a way, logical on Stack's part. Much like other domestic terrorists He is merely putting the rhetoric of Glen Bleck and the tea-baggers into action. But he is equally voicing the sheer desperation and even despair of working class Americans. Of course, before anyone writes to tell me so, I concede that Beck and most on the right are not actually advocating violence, and would probably say they oppose such things. I do not doubt their word. But the Rhetoric is unhinged and insane and it is hardly surprising to see someone with similiar rage act this way - nor is this the first time: Such angry right-wing violence is fairly common place. One need only think of the murder of Dr. Tiller or the bombings of abortion clinics.
That right wing rhetoric lends itself to this kind of madness is clear enough. The following clip From Bill Moyers' Journal demonstrates the relationship quite clearly:
The rage, anger, hate, and ignorance speaks for itself. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. People like this Stack are easy pray for hate mongers because they really do live in a country which operates against their interests. We really are victims to a system that is designed to exploit us. Americans are rightly angry, confused, and ready to take action.
Just look at what else NPR tells us about Mr. Stack's blog post:
The post portrays an America that is divided between corrupt individuals who are powerful enough to make tax laws and governmental functions work in their favor and people who have become victims of the system.This claim is absolutely right. It is not as Stack and the loony tea-baggers imagine. The issue is not "big government" or "socialism" or "liberals" or any such nonsense. Nor is the issue simply about the federal tax system, free markets, or big banks. Five minutes of open and honest refection refutes that rubbish. The issue is much bigger than that.
The problem is that money runs the country. Powerful corporations buy our politicians and make them pass laws for them; not us. The moneyed interests own both parties and expect a payoff no matter who wins any election cycle. In fact much of Stack's anger is entirely comprehensible as can be seen here
It is indeed true that the government does exist to help out the rich and powerful at the expense of "Joe common." Americans are rightly fired up and filled with rage about this. Until this issue is honestly faced and real changes are made we will find more Joe Stacks.
Joe Stack voiced an anger, a rage, that is very present today. People from all walks of life feel betrayed and harmed by those who hold money and power. They are correct.
The Tea-bagger crowd is using this rage and this injustice to whip up hate. They are blaming "liberals" and "big-government." Let us not laugh them off. True, they are ignorant and uniformed. But they known enough to see that they are mistreated. If the Glen Becks of the world can find them a scape goat or two, they will attack it. Remember the past, fascism easily arises among the downtrodden.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Chris Matthews was so moved with glee at Obama's state of the union address that he proudly proclaimed that "I forgot he was black." This statement can only mean one thing, Matthews does not associate great intellect and articulate vocabulary with black people.
Yes, I am sure that Matthews is not an "old-time bigot." I am sure he believes in civil rights, and thinks of himself as anti-racist. I have no doubt that in some ways he is. But his remark has brought to the surface a truth that we all must face: racism lives in us still.
It is not merely that our society still has racists in it. We are often racist in ways we do not perceive. Sadly those we are racist against perceive it, and it hurts and offends this.
This was brought home for me with great force. One of my courses is equally dividing between African-American and Caucasian students. I showed them the following clip from The Daily Show:
The Caucasian students found the clip to be a humorous look at race. The African-Americans felt otherwise. They were deeply offended by this clip and did NOT find it the least bit funny. These students were wounded afresh by Matthews' foolish remarks and thought that The Daily Show made matters far worse by turning it into a joke.
For African-American students, who have experienced a great deal of discrimination and unjust treatment all their lives, there is nothing but pain and sorrow in racism. It is not a matter to jest about.
This experience has caused me to think. Those who experience oppression, discrimination, exploitation, are wounded and offended in ways that I cannot even dream of. I am a white male, with all the privilege and immunity that brings with it. I cannot fathom their pain.
We who are from groups which do no experience this discrimination are often shocked to learn that words, gestures, and actions that we think harmless are received with great offence and pain and anger from groups that are oppressed.
We had better learn to look more closely. We had better seek to understand our wounded fellows. We had better become more aware of the many ways that racism still lives, unconscious but all too real, in each of us.
I cannot ever really understand what African-Americans go through. But I can reach out to be sensitive to their sorrows and do all in my power to learn from and truly open myself to their perspective.
This black history month let us all promise to try and look more deeply and our unconscious racism and see if we can change some of it.