Something in me snapped on Friday, December 14, 2012 when I found out that some enraged, fantasy-ridden whack job had slaughtered teachers and kiddies at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. I wrote about it on Saturday in Rambo Versus The Kindergarten, but apparently I'm not done with this subject yet, if my feelings this morning are anything to go by.
And here's what I have to say—after the news on Friday, it really hit home to me in a overwhelming, visceral way just how intolerable life in this miserable hellhole called the United States has become. This is not a society; it's a loony bin. There is clearly a difference in kind between mass killings and foreclosure robo-signings, predatory "subprime" loans, usurious interest rates and a million other abominable practices I could name, but all these things are of a piece. Violence is violence, whether it's carried out by some deranged kid or some money-crazed banker in lower Manhattan.
I have likened America to a giant game of Survivor, and that's a good analogy, but it's good to remember that crazy is crazy, whether it's a "game" on TV or a typical day in the life of an American citizen. Oh, did that Big Corporation just ship your job overseas? I guess you've just been kicked off the island! Too fucking bad, hey?
Well, I'm here to tell you—fuck this insane, intolerable bullshit. That's my anger talking, but I have every right to be angry about what's happened to this country, and so do you. I don't see anything ordinary citizens can do about it, but resistance can take many non-violent forms. I am not interested in perpetuating a vicious circle of violence, but I am interested in letting the assholes know—and we generally know who they are—just how we feel about the immoral, outrageous, inexcusable shit they perpetrate every day.
In this vein, for the first time since I voted him in 2008, Barack Obama showed me last night the man I voted for and haven't seen since. As you read these words, I want you to remember that this broken, unbalanced, deranged, pathologically sick society is selling its young people down the river through student debt slavery for those who go to college or a stunning lack of opportunity for those who don't. And what do you think the consequences might eventually be of a nation full of young people with nothing to look forward to, little to live for, and nothing to lose?
... but we, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them. They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.
And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.
This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.
That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is No. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change...
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.
I'll tell you what, Barack—why don't you show us you're sincere. You could start by having your Justice Department put some morally hopeless bankers in pound-'em-up-the-ass prison, not some country club, and with no hope of parole so they won't get to to perpetrate the financial violence they engage in every day while they're in jail.
And then we can take it from there. Forgive some debts, especially student debts, pay attention to the needs of The People. Because as you said, Barack, despite the fact that no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, surely we have an obligation to try. And that means you, Barack, because you're the President of the United States. If you don't succeed, and you probably won't, we won't hate you for it, but we'll support you, God Bless You, if you try.