Saturday, January 19, 2013

Slouching Towards Somalia

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" (Latin: Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius)

Hold onto your hats folks because if you have not already guessed it, and I feel sorry if you haven’t, but for the foreseeable future the good old United States of America will continue to slouch ever closer to failed state status. Sitting atop this Edward Gibbon-like vantage point is no blessing I tell you, it is the end result of what many members of my family consider my bizarre behavior and views or, from my perspective, an isolated and lonely position of relative sanity in a world of bat shit crazy.

Of course, the tipping point came with President Obama. My family had always looked askew at my interests in space exploration, liberal politics, and a general belief that pissing and shitting up the planet all to make an easy buck or two was a bad idea. But it took a black man daring to run and win the presidency before my phone calls started to go unanswered at best to outright disownment. As sad as this statement might seem, this political estrangement with some members of my family for the most matters little. I tend to follow the idea of live and let live with them since even though I have voted for Obama twice and support a good many of his stated policies he is just a politician like all the rest subject to all the failings and flaws of everyone else.

No, where I get in trouble and find myself surfing the internet looking for a country where my family and I could immigrate is the increasing evidence that the United States is edging ever closer to a right-wing psychotic breakdown. Despite some well-crafted delusions, Americans have never been that rational and if you want to get technical, you can go all the way back to the Salem witch trials for an example. But the biggest illustrations of American bizarre behavior were the centuries we spent justifying slavery then segregation, the genocide of Native Americans, and wars started to benefit the profit margin of corporations just to name a few on the hit parade of world shaking hypocrisy.

However, since the recent slaughter of twenty innocent first-graders the bizarre overreaction to even the barest commonsense measures to curb gun violence by the black helicopter fearing gun nut crowd has put them on the charts, and excuse the pun, with a bullet. The fun fact in all this is that I feel this way even though I own both a .45 Colt semiautomatic pistol and a relatively small rifle called an AR-7, which was designed as a USAF pilot’s survival rifle.

Why do I own these small weapons? The .45 is a good weapon for home protection and the small caliber AR-7 is primarily designed for wilderness survival such as hunting small game.  In truth I have not fired either in over a year and both are hidden separately from the small amount of ammo I own to prevent overly curious hands from looking at them. Neither have the obscene capacity or massive body shredding firepower of the Bushmaster/AR-15 used in Newtown.

Right after the Newtown event, I mistakenly got into a debate on Facebook, never a good venue for logical discussion, with couple of people who tightly wrapped their gun owning rights in the American flag. Early in the exchange even though I clearly stated I was a gun owner when I wrote that I supported restrictions on both the excessive purchase of ammo and the banning of the large thirty round magazines. Their mindless, knee jerk reaction was to immediately classify me with those who seek a total ban on all gun ownership.

In retrospect, my disagreement with those people while distasteful was microscopic compared to the propaganda and hate that has flooded the television and internet since then with some calling for the impeachment of the president to outright civil war.

The question as to why there is such an extreme reaction to the most basic gun control measures that in my opinion fall short to what we should actually do boils down to simple fear by a certain ethnic group in this country who see it changing. While exceptions do exist in the form of well publicized tokens promoted by conservatives, the vast majority of people who live in fear of federal storm troopers out to take assault weapons and begin the Marxist indoctrination of their children are lily-white folks.

Since I am white myself, look rather redneckish at times in the opinion of my wife, and live in the eye of the proverbial disgruntled conservative storm these fearful folks tend to say stuff around me they would never utter in front of an African-American or Hispanic-American. The degree the average fearful white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant will go to hide their true feelings is really quite remarkable. In fact, I would bet a large sum of money I do not have that if a truly objective white person here in the South stays silent and just listens this coming Monday they will hear a vast cornucopia of disparaging remarks about both President Obama and Martin Luther King. Of course, this will vary to a certain degree; a college professor working around highly educated people in an intellectual, multiracial environment might be spared compared to some liberal idiot like me rubbing elbows with those convinced the Earth is just six-thousand years old.

While it is not stated in such formal terms, the changing ethnic demographics here in America have the WASPs fearing the end of both the United States and Western civilization as they know it. To find the best example of this all you have to do is read anything written by former presidential candidate and MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan in the last five to ten years. The man has had the United States on the verge of falling like ancient Rome and then fragmenting with various ethnic groups playing the part of the Visigoths, Vandals, and the Huns.

Another example is the surreal paranoia shown by those convinced that some sort of sinister conspiracy exists to institute Sharia law in this country. All these phantom menaces call for an eternally vigilant and heavily armed people ready to jump at a moment’s notices to defeat the pending hordes of barbarian minorities producing anchor babies like rabbits and the evil cabal of Muslims out to force all good Christian girls into burkas.

It is a very sad state of affairs in this country when guns in general and assault weapons in particular serve as a mental salve for those who feel increasingly powerless in a world that is beyond their understanding. While candidate Obama in 2008 was thoroughly chastised for mentioning this but certain people do cling to their guns and religion in an attempt to deal with their frustrations. Movies and video games only promote this view showing how complex problems are easily solved with humorous one-liners and massive, high-caliber firepower. Such is the pity because it takes away from the legitimate use of truly reasonable weapons for home defense and hunting.      

When you add all of it together, those fearful of an ethnic and religious shift away from what they believe is “normal”, belief in sinister forces planning all manner of conspiracies, and the naive view that problems can be solved if enough bullets are only used is a recipe for disaster and national suicide. Healthy countries have to be ready to adapt when conditions change. Logic should dictate that the conditions existing when a country is formed, say the United States for example, do not necessarily mean they are relevant now in the twenty-first century. While most countries who fail to recognize this have long since disappeared from history there is one in existence that can be used as an example. It is that overly religious and libertarian paradise of Somalia.


Life As I Know It Now said...

Oh I hear ya! Most all the white folks around me in this area of Indiana are in a near total melt down. And WTF, you can't talk to them or reason with them at all!

Pixel Peeper said...

...out to force all good Christian girls into burkas... and don't forget - they'll take away our Christmas, too!

Boy, you described some of my former co-workers in South Carolina to a T!

Mike Williams said...

Hi, "While exceptions do exist in the form of well publicized tokens promoted by conservatives, the vast majority of people who live in fear of federal storm troopers out to take assault weapons and begin the Marxist indoctrination of their children are lily-white folks"

Most of us past the age of 20 remember these days of terror in Los Angeles very clearly. Urban violence is an ever present threat in many densely populated areas of the country. So I ask you who has the better reason to fear for the safety of kith and kin. In the breakdown of civil order in this country it will not be the stereotypical redneck on the front lines it will be these young urban men. Similarly, in case of a tyrannical government takeover it will not be the good ol' boys who will be the targets. Yet these are folks who are screaming loudest though they should have less to fear than many other groups. I hope we're are not "Slouching Toward Somalia" but if it happens it will be because of the treatment and the justified fear of our city dwellers.

Suzan said...

Write me when you find one you like, buddy!

I'm gravitating to France with its #1 health care system in the world.

Love ya,


find myself surfing the internet looking for a country where my family and I could immigrate is the increasing evidence that the United States is edging ever closer to a right-wing psychotic breakdown

Randal Graves said...

Some folks cling to guns and religion, some folks cling to dums and the political process, when everyone should be clinging to a fat doobie.

Akelamalu said...

The thought that our gun laws may change so that anyone can own a gun terrifies me. :(

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

GR8 post, Beach!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

There's far too much truth in what you've written, and I believe the Internet has exacerbated the problem. Extremists, foaming at the mouth, gleefully shoot (pun intended) their fact-deficient views via email to everyone in their address books, and ask everyone to do the same. Mindless people fail to check the "facts" in those emails, and shoot them out to even more people. It makes me nuts.

BUT, and this is a big but, I still believe in this country, and have faith that sanity will prevail. After all, I've been married to a right-winger for more than 43 years, and haven't beaten him over the head with my Pollyanna pillow yet.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

No one could have listened to that speech yesterday, Susan, and not believed measurably more in the future of our country.

Beach Bum said...

Life As I Know It Now: Yeah, I know one fellow that is convinced Obama will HIMSELF change the Constitution abd run for a third term.

Pixel: And people wonder why I want to move from my current conservative paradise.

Mike: Truthfully, if anyone needs to arm themselves for a second American civil war its the liberals. White Conservatives point out all the time they are the ones with all the guns.

Suzan: France is nice but I need the wide open space of Austrailia.

Randal: I'm with you on that one. I see a visit to Washington State in my future.

Akelamalu: Yeah, that would be a bad idea. Are they actually trying to do that?

Doc: Thanks!

Susan: Sadly I don't have teh same faith. The virus of paranoid delusion runs ramapant in this country and I feel some sort of right-wing volience will be the result.

Doc: Sorry Doc, You don't leave down here in Redneckistan. These fuckers are Alex Jones crazy.

lime said...

i have to say i have been mortified by how certain people on my FB page have revealed themselves to be complete nuts regarding guns. i'm about a hair's breadth away from unfriending a relative because i can't deal with the racist, gun-toting vitriol he posts.