The George Zimmerman verdict denotes a nation at a crossroads. Maybe we’ve already crossed some kind of line of demarcation. Post-racial America? Maybe if you’re a Beltway elite you think that. For those of us keeping score elsewhere, I contend we’re not at all.
While the Zimmerman trial garnered the lion’s share of coverage via the MSM, other news stories continued to trickle out.
Rolling Stone magazine, once the quintessential rock rag, featured Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its recent cover. Predictably, the binary, black/white moralists were outraged, claiming that Rolling Stone “glamorized” Tsarnaev, giving him the “rock star” treatment. If you actually read the article, a nuanced, well-written piece by Janet Reitman, you might come away with the idea, like I did that circumstances and ideological persuasion can change people, turning docile, well-liked young men into cold-blooded killers.
I’ve been thinking about the inability of many to look at information objectively. I see a lot of people, some of them people that I went to school with and thought I knew, come out with the most outrageous stuff via social media. Their anger, their lack of sensitivity, as well as the pride they take in displaying their ignorance is discouraging. It shouldn’t surprise me, however.
A few months ago, a friend and I had beers on a Friday night in the town where we both grew up. As we reminisced about the “old days,” he shared his observations about our former hometown, a decaying mill town along the Androscoggin River. The way he framed the town; it’s history of being conservative, the hold that fundamentalist religion has had on the town since we were in school and ever since; these weren’t new, but it made me better understand why some of my former classmates hold some of the views that they do. It’s also why I no longer see the place through rose-colored glasses.
The big news today is that Detroit, the American metropolis that came to symbolize the automobile and Happy Motoring, is now bankrupt. What does it mean when a major American city goes belly up financially? It’s certainly not a positive sign, no matter how the media and the spin doctors try to position it.
When what was once the fourth-largest city in America, files for bankruptcy, it’s a bad omen. Detroit’s filing amounts to the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history in terms of debt—somewhere close to $20 billion.
So what does this mean for our empire called America?
Conservatives will surely have something to say, mainly that it’s due to our welfare cheats, liberal policies, regulation, blah, blah, blah. It’s all really predictable, really.
Taken together; Zimmerman, Tsarnaev, and Detroit’s bankruptcy; this trifecta surely signifies something that most will miss. See if you can figure it out for yourself.
I have been listening to the final studio album of X, the seminal Los Angeles punk band that helped me put aside my own ideological blinders I once donned as a follower of fundamentalist ideology. hey Zeus! came out in 1993. Some of the songs seem to have been written with today’s news headlines in mind, like this one, “Country at War.” The video’s a bit grainy as I can’t seem to find a video clip that syncs both the original video with a clear audio clip, but the song resonates with me (some bonus material, also).
I try to love this country, but it’s turned its back
On its sick and hungry, its tired and poor
This must be a country at war
This must be a country at war