In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Tucson, we are hearing many calls to “civility”. The implication is that the increasing incivility of our public discourse perhaps had something to do with driving the responsible person towards his deed.
The assumption is that incivility in our public discourse is causing violence.
I think that that assumption puts the cart before the horse.
The public politics of these sort-of united States is a zero sum game. The strategy of the hour is to reward your friends and punish your enemies, preferably by taking from your enemies and giving to your friends. The United States is waging unjust wars in the Middle East. As the President, or rather, as the Tyrant-Emperor, calls for “civility”, he stands on a pile of dead bodies, collateral damage in his foreign wars of conquest. Sure, he didn’t start the wars, but he isn’t doing anything to stop them either. In light of the body count, his call for “civility” sounds more than a bit hollow.
As do the calls echoing from the other side of the aisle, most notably the new Republican Speaker of the House, who has never seen a war that he didn’t think was the best thing since sliced bread.
OK, so Bob is obviously not signing up for the new hypocrisy — oops, I mean CIVILITY — crusade.
I’m sure that as the situation deteriorated for the Romanoffs in the early 20th century, or the French aristocracy in the late 18th century, that they deplored the increasing incivility of their times. Blinded by their power and arrogance, they could not see their own responsibility for the institutional violence that was driving everyone crazy.
The same is true today. Like it or not, we live in a nation that is lurching towards the ash heap of history. There is no amount of lip stick that we can put on that pig to make it anything other than what it is. This isn’t a pretty site, its not a civilized journey, it is chaotic, violent, and things will get much much worse before they get any better. I think it is likely that this is the first of a wave of political assassinations that will poison the public well and drive us even faster onto the ash heap of history. That would not be my choice, if I had in power or authority in the matter, but I don’t. I am just a piss-ant Okie redneck with an attitude and an education, a loud mouth with internet access, chronicling the twilight years of the American Experiment, wondering what will come after, and encouraging everyone to immediately begin working on self-fulfilling prophecies of beauty, wisdom, and hope, to build alternative structures before the ruins of the old collapse in on us and bury us all.