Monday, May 17, 1999

Week of 05/17/1999

Violence and Politics
The Clueless Crusade Continues

- by David Matthews 2

Okay boys and girls, by now we’ve all heard the talk. We’ve seen the "special reports" from the media. We’ve even had a special summit by President Clinton and a collection of self-professed "social experts." We’ve talked about it, and talked about it, and talked about it, and now the message is clear:

Violence is bad.

Ooh! What a revelation! "Violence is bad!"

Here we are almost a month into the massacre in Littleton, Colorado, by two students with a monumental grudge and a small arsenal of weapons, and we are still obsessed by the issue of violence. Why is it happening? Why the schools? Why these kids? Why now? What’s causing it?

Politicians are using the issue to weasel in their pet social projects, everything from the anti-flag burning amendment to the Constitution to imposing special taxes on constitutionally-protected forms of speech. Congress is focusing on Hollywood, their usual target of scorn and ridicule, with sweeping amendments to the current Juvenile Justice Bill under consideration in the Senate. The Clinton Administration is not only targeting their old Hollywood friends, but also going after their pet target - the Second Amendment. In less than a month, the two cornerstone Amendments of the United States Constitution are being whittled down under the excuse that "Violence is bad."

Let’s get really brutally honest here, people. America has been a violent nation from day one. It was forged in the middle of a violent revolution. Look at the national anthem. Not only was it based on a poem by Francis Scott Key in the midst of the War of 1812, but it contains mentions of bombs and rockets! The southern part of America is still obsessed with the Civil War, yet another bloody conflict. And fifty years ago, we were the first country that bombed a foreign country with nuclear weapons, not once, but twice! America still bears the stigma of being the only nation to do that.

Now, all of a sudden, we’re being castigated by the moralists for having a sudden "culture of violence?" PLEASE! Take off your rose-colored glasses and recheck your history!

Violence is mankind’s most primal action. It is born from the mental conflict between the real world and what we believe the world should be. At some point, we decide that the real world has to comply to our ideals, and when non-violent methods are not successful, some of us then decide to use physical force against others. That’s the reason why we are violent!

You’ll notice that there is no mention of guns, music, movies, flag burning, alcohol, video games, junk food, comic books, television, or the Internet in that last paragraph. It is a simple, straightforward answer to why we are violent. That’s why some husbands abuse their wives. That’s why some parents abuse their kids. That’s why some disgruntled workers show up at the job site with a gun. That’s why we suffer from "road rage." That’s why some kids show up at school with a gun. Not because of all these other things, but because we cannot mentally accept the real world as it is. Simple, straightforward, and easy to understand.

And unfortunately, too straightforward for the politicians to deal with. They need a target they can point to and blame. An excuse for them to use their own exclusive form of force on society.

And it is not like the politicians don’t get it. In all likelihood, they probably do. But as Michael Douglas said best in "An American President," the problem is they can’t sell it!

What they can sell, however, is their phony promises of "eliminating violence." And selling it they are, like spammers with a T3 line and the latest e-mail listings. The doublespeak is rampant, and the political manure is being spread evenly on both conservative and liberal sides.

Perhaps the most dangerous to American freedoms is what went on in the closed doors session of the president’s "youth and violence summit" last week, and the doublespeak that came before and after the meeting. Let’s look at some of them..

Bill Clinton: "We’re not here to place blame, but rather to shoulder responsibility."
Translation: We’re looking for groups to accept blame. If you don’t accept blame, THEN we’ll place it on you.

Clinton: "The old way of doing business has to stop."
Translation: The next person to mention the Constitution or the Bill of Rights gets a one-way trip to Serbia on Air Missile.

Bruce Reed, Clinton’s domestic policy advisor: "We want to find solutions."
Translation: We already have the solutions, we’re just here to bully everyone else into selling them for us.

Reed: "We will work with the (gun) groups to find common ground."
Translation: If they don’t endorse our platform, we’ll brand them as kooks just like the National Rifle Association. We’ll just give them time to decide whether or not they want to be associated with the right-wing conspiracy.

The scary part is that we won’t know what went on in that closed-door meeting, but we will feel the implications for months to come as the Clinton Administration browbeat and coerce Congress into doing their bidding to suppress freedom in the names of those killed in Littleton.

And unfortunately, little will be done to control violence itself. Instead, the politicians will go after the peripherals. It is no stretch of the imagination to figure out where the self-serving Gods of Mount Morality will focus their wrath towards.

Target number one, the gun makers. Already feeling the weight of lawsuits by headline-hogging trial lawyers and money-grubbing city leaders, gun makers and dealers will no doubt feel more pressure to conform to new laws and regulations piled on top of the tons of other "feel good" laws and regulations. Every public tragedy seemingly means more and more laws and regulations that do nothing except make the public "feel good" and water down the Second Amendment until the only thing left in the hands of real victims is a surrender flag.

And on top of that, expect a new level of erroneous "product liability" lawsuits from either the state and/or the federal governments. After all, if there is money to give out, why let the cities have it all? The Clinton Administration loves to "share the wealth" as long as it is the wealth of others.

Target number two, the movie and television industry. President Clinton wants to shame Hollywood from marketing movies with violence towards kids. Well Bubba, here’s the challenge: There’s this movie coming out this week being marketed towards kids.. you may have heard about it.. it’s called "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." It has violence in it. Why don’t you stand on your little White House bully pulpit and decry George Lucas and 20th Century Fox? Come on, I dare you!

Odds are, Big Bubba Spin and his followers will keep quiet about Star Wars. Its too popular for them to attack. They’ll wait for some lesser production for them to invoke their wrath against Hollywood. Just like any common bully, Clinton can’t fight anyone larger than him.

As for television, Clinton already has his precious "voluntary" ratings system ("voluntary" as in under the barrel of a gun) that all the networks have to comply with, even though not all of them are as detailed as Clinton would want them to be. (NBC is still defying the will of Bill and Hillary.) They don’t even have their much bragged about "V-chip" yet!

Target number three, the video games. Despite the fact that there already is a ratings system in place that explains what the video games have in terms of language, violence, blood, and nudity, no doubt that either the Clinton Administration and/or members of Congress will once again try to brand games like Doom and Quake as instigators of violence. But, as one company executive has said in the recent E3 convention, "The evidence does not exist that support a link between playing violent video games and community mass murder. Video games do not teach people to hate. Video games don’t teach people to become Nazis. And if you get good at using (a joystick) it doesn’t make you a marksman."

Unfortunately, they too may be sued under a new wave of malicious "product liability" lawsuits pushed even by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Target number four, the Internet. Free speech is too dangerous a thing for the Gods of Mount Morality to let stand, especially in a medium that they gave up control over years ago. With the coaxing of the press, whom despise the Internet, no doubt Congress and the White House will unleash new attempts to regulate content in blatant violations of the First Amendment.

Target number five, the music makers. Kiss "gangsta rap" and heavy metal good-bye. The real thugs, the bad-boy gangstas in DC, will soon be crashing that party. Anything talking about violence or dark images, no matter if it is rap or heavy metal, will suffer the wrath of the moralists. Marilyn Manson has already cancelled the rest of his tour. Other groups may also feel the heat as politicians try to corral music they deem to be "inappropriate."

This isn’t even "feel good" politics anymore. What is going on in the political arenas amounts to "feel guilty" legislation. The politicians are using this tragedy to bully their way through every right and freedom we as Americans have, trying to make us feel guilty about the tragedy and forcing us to pay the price.

The hypocrisy is that President Clinton has the balls to chastise the world for being violent when at the same time, he is off waging wars of his own all over the world! Apparently Clinton feels that "violence is bad" unless it involves Kosovo, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

And if we have to go down that socialist path of saying that other people are responsible for your actions, why is the press somehow immune to this collective guilt orgy? After all, they are glamorizing tragedies like Littleton with endless coverage. Why aren’t they taking the blame for inspiring other tragedies? Could it be that they love to dish out the blame but can’t take it?

Ok, so "violence is bad." That’s a no-brainer. But in trying to find a solution to controlling violence in our children, we need to stop trying to attack the peripherals and focus on the real cause - our inability to deal with reality.

And therein lies the real problem. Our reliance on appearances, no matter if it is the White House or the white picket fences of small town America, has done far more to contribute to violence than an whole arsenal of weapons. Placing appearance over reality creates the mental conflicts that violence spawns from. It is that illusion of appearance that keeps us from realizing that there is a problem until it is far too late to avert something tragic from happening.

Unless we deal with reality, and place it over the illusion of appearance, this issue of violence will continue from one tragedy to the next.

And that is what we are trying to stop, right?

No comments: