Friday, August 1, 2008


It's unfortunately becoming more common. Guy walks into "x" locale heavily armed and shoots up the place (and just today, some maniac up in Wisconsin ambushed some kids swimming in the river).

This happened just recently in Knoxville, where one Jim Adkisson shot up the Unitarian Universalist Church during a children's performance of the musical Annie.

There has been a lot of coverage that Mr. Adkisson did this despicable act to get at the liberals (stating that he couldn't get at the "Liberal Leadership - whoever the heck that is so he decided to shoot up this church because they are known for their liberal tendencies).

There has also been a lot of coverage that Mr. Adkisson was a fan of Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Savage, etc.

At the outset, the blame for this act should be laid squarely at the feet of the shooter. It is obvious that he is a profoundly broken human being.

The case will be made by those media outlets that lots of people listen to and read those peoples books every day and don't shoot up a church, so they couldn't have had anything to do with it.

This may be true. But, this guy was unemployed. So, what did he do all day? Probably stayed home and listened to the radio, and read the books. Day after day, hour after hour of ingesting those ideas that only agreed with and aligned with what HE personally believed.

This one deranged individual excluded, I think this is a bigger example of the polarization of this country. I also believe this is indicative of a new kind of coarse "entertainment" - that which disguises itself as "news" and "discussion" of the issues. In reality, these folks seek to divide (while saying they seek to unify), they seek to make us deathly afraid of the "other" whether that be someone of a different color, different faith, different nationality, or whatever.

Fear is their stock and trade, and fear is what they want to sow. Oh, they wrap it up quite righteously saying they only want to "spread the truth". But at the bottom, it's fear they want to spread.

For there is power in making people afraid.

I find it laughable that conservative talk radio and television hosts complain about the "liberal media" and yet they have literally 24 hours of total coverage somewhere on the media spectrum. Whether it be Fox News, or EIB, or whatever.

There is not even a good division anymore of what constitutes a liberal or conservative. For instance, Hannity, et al say that if you don't support the President and his wars, you are a disloyal traitorous liberal. But since day one of the wars conservative pundits such as Pat Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts have been extremely tough on this war. NO ONE would EVER accuse Pat Buchanan of being a liberal. His conservative credentials are well known, and are certainly not in doubt.

Another thing that interests me is that the mainstream media gives so much attention to these bottom feeders. Witness the talk about Rush Limbaugh affecting the primaries. Witness the recent flap over Michael Savage and Autism. Why not just ignore them? By giving them the press, you give them EXACTLY what they want - publicity, and a platform for them to whine, mule and cry about how they are being persecuted by that mean old liberal media machine.

I believe that the proliferation of shows like Limbaugh, etc prove just how shallow we've become as a people, and despite how much we say we want to debate and understand the issues, we really just want to make all the issues a simple x = y event.

If "x" happens it is because of "y". And so much the better "y" is black, latino, an immigrant, on welfare, or whatever.

We are in deep trouble as a country. Watching Fox News or listening to Rush Limbaugh will not help us solve our problems which are extremely deep and widely systemic. We have economic woes. We have social woes. We are running two wars which the conservative press would like you to believe we are winning. Most likely we are not (and Bill Lind has a GREAT piece on that called something like Why McCain is Wrong - EVERY American should read Bill Lind), and the wars are slowly bleeding the life out of this country.

I think the labels Conservative and Liberal are so overused and tired that they really don't mean anything anymore. I also do understand that those on the left sometimes trade in as much hate and fear as those on the right.

I don't consider myself Liberal or Conservative, nor have I for a few years. I call myself a "Recovering Conservative". Like when you decide to get sober of alcohol or drugs. You go to a meeting and get a poker chip.

My mother told me once that my politics were to the right of Pat Buchanan. I am somewhat ashamed that I ever held such views. I now like to consider myself independent. Hopefully a systems thinker. Progressive. Anything but those two other labels.

So, in the final analysis, what is the solution? Do not ban Limbaugh, etc. That will only make them what they want to be: Radio Martyrs. This will "prove" to them and their followers that the world is out to get them. The final solution is to turn them off and ignore them. Read a book. Talk to your wife and kids. Go to the library. Love your neighbor as yourself as Jesus taught us.

Anything but feeding off of those parasites.

Nothing Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Michelle Malkin say is profound or deep. Nothing they say is particularly important in the grand scheme of things either.