Once again violence has shattered a place of innocence, and an elementary school in Connecticut takes on the appearance of a battlefield.
To think that it was only iIn July of this year that I submitted an article to the Peoples World entitled, “Seeking solutions to a violent society”. It was written to reflect upon the massacre of Colorado citizens attending a midnight movie.
In the previous article I tried to cast a wide net, exploring and examining the various aspects to a violent society, from a romanticized gun culture with a powerful lobby that stifles reasonable debate to the alienation of individuals who cannot keep up with rampant consumerism.
The conclusion of my amateur analysis was that the reason we cannot get to the bottom of the problems that plague our society is because the citizenry itself, the citizenry that is suffering once again, this time with a classroom full of murdered children.
There is no doubt, that any society, organized along socialist or capitalist lines will be confronted by serious problems. Problems that stem from corruption, ignorance, neglect and even as yet not understood phenomena of the psyche and human personality.
However, the difference lies in how those problems are addressed, and by whom. Everywhere the capitalist system under which we live is rigged. Working people do not have access to the rooms in which the decisions are being made. In fact, quite the contrary, everywhere the ruling class is trying to shut them out, Michigan being the latest example.
For as long as anyone can remember the ruling class has been braying that the solution to all our ills is to cut spending, especially on the dreaded “entitlement programs.”
When the pressures of unemployment, drug abuse, untreated disease both mental and physical come crashing down on families if the right wing solutions were followed we would reduce the number of weeks a person has on unemployment, keep them further away from grocery stores and clinics by slashing mass transit and poison the air and the water by scaling back previously agreed upon environmental regulations. Teachers would do double or triple duty and social workers, well, they’re superfluous.
Successful programs, from the arts to head start , are frivolous. In 1994 President Clinton was howled at and ridiculed by the ultra right for what was termed ‘midnight basketball’ which was a very modest proposal aimed at giving urban youth outlets for constructive interaction and activity. Like anything aimed at assisting people rather than preserving profit it was termed “wasteful”.
No one thing, the restricting of firearms ownership, the censoring of violent films and music, the expanding availability of social workers to monitor those suffering from disorders, is going to bring tragedies such as we saw in Connecticut to an immediate and complete halt. Just as no one single thing usually motivates those who perpetrate such crimes. However, a system organized by people and designed for the benefit of society as a whole will at least have a chance to put the priorities in order.
A nation that kills its own citizens by remote control drones does not set an example for peace. A society that pits neighbors against its communities teachers does not set an example of respect. A government that strips workers of their rights does not set an example of valuing one’s skills. A people that embrace the slogan “he who dies with the most toys wins” does not embrace an ethic of love. The ridiculing of multi-culturalism and the labeling of human beings as “illegal” does nothing to uproot the poisonous weeds of racism. The children who are raised in this environment are lost to us before they have a chance to grow.
Mumbled prayers and flags at half staff may appropriately symbolize our grief as a nation, but only the unity of people will break down the barriers that stand in the way of addressing the problems that plague us, sometimes created by those who rule, other times simply left to fester.
The situation however, while bleak, is not hopeless. Human history holds numerous examples of people rising to the occasion to prevent their own bondage, humiliation and destruction at the hands of uncaring others. The people can put this nation right. The working class is equipped to grapple with the ills that are destroying our nation’s children. They only need to be let into the room and take a place at the table.