Saturday Sermon: Our Internal War Machine

Outsourced to Charles Pierce (boldface mine):

This is a country now at war with itself. This is a phrase that is generally tossed about when political debate gets too heated. It was popular to say it back in the 1960s, when it seemed quite possibly to be true, with leaders bleeding out on balconies in Memphis or kitchen floors in Los Angeles, and students bleeding out from gunfire on college campuses, and half-baked revolutionary idiots blowing themselves up in Greenwich Village. But this is not the same thing. This is a country at war with itself for profit. This is a country at war with itself because its ruling elite is too cowed, or too well-bribed, or too cowardly to recognize that there are people who are getting rich arming both sides, because the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, so you make sure that it’s easy for the bad guys to get guns in order to make millions selling the guns to the good guys. This is a dynamic not unfamiliar to the people in countries where brushfire conflicts and civil wars are kept alive because distant people are making a buck off them. In Africa, war is made over diamonds and rare earths. In South America, war is made over cocaine. Here, for any number of reasons – because Adam Lanza went crazy or because Elliot Rodger couldn’t get laid – and the only constant in all those wars is the fact somebody gets rich arming both sides.

That is what has come home to roost now. This is a country at war with itself because cynical people have told its citizens that their fellow citizens – all of them, because you can never tell, can you? — are the enemy. This is a country in which citizens make war on each other because that’s what they are being encouraged to do. Someone finds it more profitable to maintain the war than they do to stop it.

It is a guerrilla war, fought on darkened streets against children in hoodies brandishing Skittles, against children in cars who play their music too loudly, against evanescent fears and the ghosts born of ancient prejudice and cultivated dread. Its battles are sudden but, sadly, no longer surprising. The whole country is the battleground now because cynical people have made it so. Our movie theaters are our Wheatfields, our Peach Orchards, or our Bloody Lanes. A quiet college campus is the Hornet’s Nest. An elementary school is Cemetery Ridge. Those are the killing zones. The enemy, we are told, is everywhere, and nowhere….

There are more flowers in more places and there is no peace in sight, because we have chosen as a country to slake our appetite for it with blood. The dead are not honored in this war. Only the instrumentality of their murder is, god help us all.

Consider this the Wrath of the Ammosexuals, who have taken one of the most odious parts of the Bill of Rights and elevated it above living, breathing people.

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3 Responses to Saturday Sermon: Our Internal War Machine

  1. Gingerbaker says:

    Wow. Simply wow.

    To see what has happened to our country as a narrative whose protagonist is the gun industry or gun lovers (or “ammosexuals” as you so bizarrely put it as if homosexuality is a pejorative term) is proof positive that you have completely lost perspective about this issue.

    You are seeing demons. You are conjuring witches.

    The only nexus between the 1960’s, the present, and gun culture is that the right-wing has learned how to win elections by amping up the issue. And all you are doing here is helping them win more elections. Seriously, Karl Rove has never ever been so happy.

    Hardly anyone bought assault weapons until the political left decided to make them an issue they could use, evidently, to lose elections in districts that had no business voting for right-wing policies. This demon you see is of your own making. You.

    And once again, from someone who actually cares about issues that will affect billions, not hundreds of people – issue like global warming, election reform, economic inequality – may I say – thanks for nothing. You are not helping the cause one bit.

  2. Dave Dell says:

    Gingerbaker – The shallowness of your thought is ludicrous.

  3. Jon says:

    It’s hard to take this seriously when set against our rapidly declining violent crime rate. Maybe something needs to be done, but if this is war…

    (Ok, I guess the part about passing laws giving impunity to the “right” sort of people who kill the “wrong” sort of people counts as war, but not due to number of casualties.)

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