Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh no, politics! Look away!


Once again I find myself thinking about the things I can and can't do. This in light of some recent news items. I'll just go through the list and see where I end up.

On the shooting in the Colorado theater I have only a couple of thoughts. One, this is a local story and so I don't need to follow it. Therefore, I haven't followed it very much other than to see the headlines on NPR and Slate. Two, I don't know the shooter's name and don't care to know it. I would read and support a news organization that would go out of its way to not say the name, to cover the story as little as possible, and to remind people that this is a local story. Three, I don't think that this is the reason for better gun control in our country. Rather, I think that there are three million other reasons for gun control in our country but that's an issue about which I have zero say and so I pretty much give up. And four, I think that looking for blame is foolish in this. Blame the shooter, make him anonymous, and let due process do its work on a local level without 175 news trucks tracking every move.

There was a case in which a young woman who was raped while unconscious outed the two young men who savaged her. She posted their names on the Internet. She faced criminal charges and fines for doing so. The young men on the other hand were slapped on the wrist. Oh, and they had posted video on the Internet of their raping of her. Oh yeah, and her name was made public because she pressed charges against them. There has been some hand wringing about whether or not those two young men should have been named, whether they should have that hung around their necks for the rest of their lives, whether they should have to live with that scar. Makes me wonder if the victim should have to live with the fact that she was raped. And then I figure that it's just fine to have their names out there. By the way, their names are: Austin Zehnder and Will Frey. (I have two daughters to raise and protect. Everyone should be aware of who these two are.) There's a good article about this here.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are both trolling for votes, refusing to say anything about guns because they can't offend any voters, not willing to separate themselves from special interests because that's where the money is, and in general walking the middle of every road. Yawn. Moving on.

A conservative writer is claiming that private enterprise created the Internet whereas the truth of the matter is that it was government that did it. There aren't two sides to this issue and there is no "fair and balanced" way of looking at it. The Department of Defense and federally funded university programs created the Internet, the World Wide Web and then businesses built on that idea exactly as Obama described in his speech that was intentionally misquoted by Mitt Romney's campaign (and thus by Mitt Romney himself) and then further intentionally misquoted by most every vapid conservative speaker. These people are lying or are completely incapable of doing any research. Don't believe them, they lie.

And speaking of liars, there's Michele Bachmann who reported that an aide to Secretary Clinton has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood though there is no evidence of this and plenty of evidence to the contrary. That woman now requires protection because of these outlandish claims. Michele Bachmann will likely win her reelection on the backs of such claims simply because the voters in her district are too stupid to see her for the danger that she is.

Finally, there is Chick-fil-a, a company dedicated to undermining the rights of human beings based on their sexual identity. I'm not even going to go into that one. It's too easy a target and they are too ridiculous for words.

I can't do much about any of these things. I don't have a Chick-fil-a to boycott, can't vote in Bachmann's district, am unable to oppose the Wall Street Journal writer's position on the creation of the Internet, can't get Presidential candidates or other politicians to do much of anything, can barely protect my own daughters let alone children across the world, and can't get even NPR to stop saying the shooter's name. All I can do is decide what I can and can't do, say a few words in hopes that others will say them too, and write on. I just don't know that any of that is enough.