My jaw dropped when I read the variety of reasons (or rather excuses, excuses, excuses) Republicans have come up with for mass shootings in the U.S. Hint: not a single one of them blames the problem on easy access to guns. Among their reasons are:
- Abortion (Fox ‘News’ host Mark Levin)
- ‘Lecturing women’ (Fox ‘News’ host Tucker Carlson)
- ‘Regular pot use’ (Fox ‘News’ host Laura Ingraham)
And yet another Fox host, Greg Gutfeld, claims that the way to stop mass shootings is to simply ignore them. Yep, you heard right … he claims that if the media refuse to cover mass shootings, they will “decrease by 30%, 40%, 50%”. Oh, to live in such a world of abject ignorance.
The tragedy is that some 30% of the people in this country actually watch Fox as their main new source, sometimes their only news source. Those same people tend not to be college-educated, not to be deep thinkers, and to be easily swayed by rhetoric that plays on their emotions. I know it’s not possible to simply shut Fox ‘News’ down, for that would be an infringement on the 1st Amendment, but I do wonder, if Fox went away tomorrow, how many minds could be awakened between now and November? Enough, possibly, to make a real difference in the upcoming election and future elections, perhaps even enough to convince people to THINK on occasion.
The lies and conspiracy theories floating throughout the air waves pose a direct, distinct threat to the security of the nation and its people. In April, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the formation of a board to monitor national security threats caused by the spread of dangerous disinformation. But alas, the Republicans went ape-shit crazy, calling it Orwellian and even some Democrats made the valid point questioning the powers that such an office might wield in the hands of future Republican administrations. And so, the board has been ‘paused’, likely never to see the light of day again in this administration.
So, how DO we counter the lies and falsehoods, the conspiracy theories that have already led to violence and death? If we cannot demand truth from all media outlets who call themselves ‘news’ outlets, and we cannot regulate the lies from within the government, what is left? Education. But we currently have too many states where the lies are infiltrating even our schools with the sanction and blessing of state governments. Florida, for example, refuses to allow the teaching of concepts that could make students, “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any form of psychological distress” for actions “committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex or national origin.”
So how in hell are we to educate the next generation if the current generation is too cowardly to face the truth. Yes, slaves – people from the African continent, people with Black skin – were brought here in the 17th century and sold … yes, SOLD like property … to white men who used them to perform backbreaking labour and paid them nothing, but beat them half to death if they underperformed. Yes, we turned away a ship, the MS St. Louis, filled with Jews seeking asylum from an evil anti-Semitic dictator and sent many of them to their subsequent deaths. And yes, this nation’s white government stole both property and freedom from Japanese-American citizens during World War II simply because they were of Japanese ethnicity. And the very worst was the first … when white people first arrived on this land, they murdered and stole the land of the Indigenous People who were here long before white men came here seeking asylum from tyranny. Isn’t it ironic that they inflicted the same treatment, only worse, on people that they themselves were fleeing?
Do you see a trend here? Black people, Jews, Japanese, Indigenous … BIGOTRY … RACISM! But yet, we are not to teach our children of these events and many, many more because it might “make them feel guilt.” Let them feel guilt! Let them at least try to put things to right, to make up for the crimes of their ancestors, to strive for a better nation, one where EVERYONE is welcome and treated equally! A world where justice doesn’t mean something entirely different for Black people than it means for white people. But instead, we are to allow them to grow up as ignorant as their parents are … more so, actually, for the parents know the truth but choose willful ignorance over intelligent thought.
I know what the ultimate solution to the dangerous lies and conspiracy theories will ultimately have to be, and so do you if you think about it, but it is not the one I would have chosen. It is a battle I once thought we had already won.