Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Tonic For The Soul

Those who read this blog with any regularity would most likely describe me as an inveterate cynic. Indeed, it has become my default position. Nonetheless, when I see goodness and positive resolve in the world, my heart can still be touched, although not overwhelmed.

The massive anti-gun protests that swept the United States yesterday has occasioned a hopefulness that I haven't felt in a long time. Organized and led by young people, some of whom have been personally touched by gun violence, the Washington component of the massive demonstrations is estimated to have seen over 500,000 in attendance. And make n mistake about it - these were people with a strong and explicit message directed toward corrupted lawmakers: our lives are worth more than the money the NRA is paying for your deadly complicity in the deaths of far too many innocents.
“Vote them out!” they cried, over and over, on a dozen jam-packed blocks of Pennsylvania Ave., the street that connects Republican President Donald Trump’s White House with the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. “Vote them out!”

Near the end of last night's NBC broadcast, two reporters were realistically positing the end of the massive coverage the media have given to this movement, news cycles being what they are. Apparently, the young people are undaunted by this reality; they intend to continue and deepen their campaign for sane gun laws through something they are very adept at: social media. I hope they succeed.

One of the most important aspects of these demonstrations, from my point of view, is that they have spawned a sense of unity, cohesion and oneness that is anomalous in a nation as fractured as the United States is. And that growing unity, that recognition of the commonalities that bind us together can transcend the things that separate us, is what the powers of darkness (for want of a better phrase) truly fear. The reactionary right is well aware their hold is facilitated by sowing division, discord and animus. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

To that end, the NRA is bringing its mighty guns to bear in order to try to disrupt this growing unity. For example, while it maintained 'radio silence,' so to speak, for four days after the Parkland shootings (surely tactical move rather than a gesture of respect), after that brief period it strengthened its digital presence:
The NRA was already spending an average of $11,300 per day for online ads alone before the school shooting on February 14. Since February 18, online ad spending has more than quadrupled with a daily average of $47,300.

The majority of this increase was spent on Facebook in advertisements that were targeted to Florida residents. The National Rifle Association also jumped into the top 100 advertisers on YouTube and has maintained this new status since February 21.
But that is but one of their tactics. Consider Colion Noir,
a pseudonym for Collins Iyare Idehen Jr., a lawyer and gun rights activist from Houston who has nearly 650,000 subscribers on YouTube.

I imagine there are few things the NRA would not do to continue its stranglehold on America's soul. It is now up to those who have seen and experienced so much violence and death in their young lives to do mighty and sustained battle against a seemingly implacable foe.


  1. The uprising of American youth is a sign that Change is coming, Lorne. And the American Right is scared -- really scared.

    1. they should be cared, Owen. These young people are showing n signs of being daunted by the reactionary right and their minions.

  2. The existing political order in most Western nations and elsewhere is predatory of the young. I read an article that bemoaned how we have "borrowed" from future generations. What a crock. Borrowing implies an intent to return. We have no such intention. We've stolen their future and have not the slightest intent or willingness to make that right. We have taken all of our share, not even allocating some of it to posterity, and a pretty big bite out of their share. We took everything bequeathed us by our parents' and grandparents' generation. We took everything that we generated. And we "borrowed" from the next generations. Nice work if you can get it.

    1. Believe me, Mound, our pillaging of the world at the expense of future generations is something I often think about. I think contemplating the future I will not be part of is also why I get so distressed over contemporary politics. This 'live-in-the-moment' mentality is going to exact a very high price.