First Posted on January 2, 2014
In an old first season episode of Hawaii Five-O, Steve McGarrett quoted, in his words, ‘an old Chinese saying:’ “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
Must have been pleasant to live in such optimistic times, times and circumstances that still allowed optimism that when tomorrow arrives there will still be flowers. Reflections on the year just past offer little if any confidence that our current downward slope has any chance of even decreasing its downward angle, much less of ever leveling off. A brief review of a handful of realities offers scant promise.
Courtesy of the Boston Globe, a look back at 2013 as a horrific year for mass shootings and a bad year for gun control:
When 17-year-old Claire Davis died, after being shot Dec. 13 by a classmate at their Colorado high school, there were expressions of sorrow from local and national politicians. Davis’s murder got a measure of attention because it occurred only 8 miles from the site of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and one day before the anniversary of last year’s Newtown, Conn., slayings. But as her family and classmates confronted their grief, there was no serious outcry for new gun laws. America has been there, tried that, and run up against an impenetrable wall: the National Rifle Association, which controls politicians through lavish campaign contributions, mainly, but also a relative handful of diehard supporters who oppose even the puniest efforts to control guns.
In 2013, the failure to pass gun legislation stood as the strongest example of how money and special interests can influence the country’s political system, and how Congress is incapable of responding pragmatically to matters of urgent national concern. Confronted with Congress’s inexplicable failure to pass a background-check bill that was supported by more than 80 percent of the people, many Americans simply gave up. They risk becoming inured to the fact that another 32,000 to 33,000 people will likely die from a bullet in suicides and homicides in the United States in 2014.
Instead, Americans should be indignant. There were a whopping 24 additional mass killings — defined as the murders of more than four people in one spree — using guns in the year after Newtown. They appear like regular marks on the calendar . . .
More on guns, courtesy of William Rivers Pitt:
The year of the gun began in Tulsa, where four women were found bound and shot to death in their apartment. Twelve days later, a fifteen-year-old boy in New Mexico used an AR-15 to slaughter his father, mother, brother and two sisters; his brother was nine years old, and his sisters were five years old and two years old respectively. Less than a month later, a man shot and killed four people in a rural New York barber shop.
A little over a month later, two men and two women were lined up and shot in a basement in Akron. Four days later, a man in Washington State shot and killed his girlfriend and three neighbors before the police shot him down. Two days later, a man shot and killed five members of the mother of his daughter’s family before also being killed by police. Four days later, a Kansas man shot his roommate to death, shot his best friend to death, and then shot his best friend’s girlfriend and her 18-month-old daughter to death.
On the weekend of Mother’s day, a man shot and killed two couples before burning their homes, and then shot and killed a newspaper deliveryman. A little more than a month later, a man in Hawaii shot and killed the couple that managed his apartment building, shot and killed four neighbors, took hostages, and was eventually himself gunned down by police. . . .
A few defining words on the reality of America’s shift from a place where “all men are created equal” to one in which “Corporations are people, my friend,” courtesy of Jim Kirwan:
“Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini
Our entire way of life has been stolen and shall never return to the lazy and hopeful days of living and loving, of joy and promise, with the possibility for doing real and meaningful things with one’s own life – not to mention being able to envision a better world for more and more people – whose lives were so far below the levels we enjoyed. Instead of that promise, instead of that possibility – what we have now is the outright worship of Mistrust, of Fear, and of Paranoia – along with obscene profits for those who have purchased all the politicians, and who control every facet of this once nearly free society.
If American life were a sporting event – today’s game would be one in which all the officials and the referees had all been pre-purchased by what would obviously be the winning team. . . .
Fascism. We’re almost there, thanks to a national politic whose major interest remains the merger of corporate profit with the full power of the state. All common and ordinary folks had best stand aside, lest they get overrun. Or run over.
3. The Age of Ignorance:
Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do. The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.
An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country. Most of our politicians and their political advisers and lobbyists would find themselves unemployed, and so would the gasbags who pass themselves off as our opinion makers. Luckily for them, nothing so catastrophic, even though perfectly well-deserved and widely-welcome, has a remote chance of occurring any time soon. For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.
The list of cultural atrocity goes on and on; it never slows, never ceases. The hope that “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today” has never been at greater risk, at least not since Monsanto convinced all the governmental powers-that-be that they have the RIGHT to impose their genetically-modified seeds upon every corner of the planet. There is, of course, that singular motivating factor: PROFIT! along with the power implicit therein . . . the power to decimate, if not destroy completely, entire populations of such innocent critters as honeybees, or butterflies, or . . . “We the people.”