This morning I found myself looking through the stats for DGMS, giving a cursory glance at what links bring people here, what Google query became the inroad. This piece, written on April 19, 2010 was on the list. I pulled it up and gave it a read. What struck me was how applicable it still is today. Maybe even more in light of circumstances around the globe, tensions heightened here in our own country, misguided "patriotism" which looks much more like HATEriotism and cowardice.
I don't think I am alone in feeling we are nearing a tipping point of some sort. We have let the lunatics run the asylum for far too long and those chickens are coming home to roost IN the cuckoo's nest.
Answers? Good lord, I have no more than anyone else. The best I can come up with is to ask people to STOP, take a breath, and truly educate themselves. Turn off what foments your hatred, keeps your inner narrative filled with indignation and hubris. READ. Not Stormfront or The Blaze. Hell, not even CNN these days. Seek out FACTS, not conspiracy laden opinions. Find NEWS - a straight forward presentation of what, where, who, when. Not a finger pointing screed by a carefully coiffed "anchor."
And when you do start learning, don't be afraid or too egotistical to admit you were, perhaps, wrong. That perhaps what you think isn't what is real. What you fear, isn't actually an enemy, but a carefully created bogeyman designed by those who profit from your anger.
Sad;y, on the whole, we are a stupid, bumper-sticker-mentality populace. Geographically, scientifically - we are woefully unenlightened, uneducated, and easily led.
Like I said, I don't have answers, but it seems like replacing bullshit with FACTS may be a good place to start.
Looking Back, Looking Forward - originally posted 4/19/2010
Fifteen years ago today, a truck bomb ripped a hole in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City...
And fifteen years ago, this picture ripped a hole in the heart of a nation...
When this happened, I remember staring at my TV, mouth open, unable to comprehend that what I had only associated with terrorist bombings overseas, had somehow been unleashed in my country.
At the time, I had two small children. And Kendall was just a hair older than Baylee. How very easy it was to see her petite body in the arms of that firefighter.
And it hurt.
Looking at the photo today, fifteen years removed, fifteen years older, wiser, and far more jaded by the events I have seen since, it still hurts.
Not only was this an act of domestic terrorism, it was a spectacular act of cowardice. Like 9/11, like the disgruntled asshole whose handiwork I see on a regular basis here in Austin - the building still charred by the fire, the hole still gaping like a tremendous wound from the plane he flew into it a month ago.
Terrorists, all. Cowards, all.
Anyone who gets their ass in a knot and takes it out on innocent people - especially CHILDREN - are cowardly terrorists.
We like to think we are special in this country. Sarah Palin and her ilk make mountains of money out of that spin. We are above reproach. The USA should never apologize. We are the shit, man. Bow down to us.
Um, no, no we're not.
And every single day, our idiocy is on display to the entire world. As the rhetoric continues to ratchet up, as politicians gleefully incite willfully ignorant crowds, as misinformation replaces FACT - we edge closer to another Murrah Building going down in a blaze of gory.
More innocent people in this country are going to die at the hands of homegrown terrorists. More children are going to be collateral damage of their misplaced rage, their anger stoked by political hucksters, TV schlockmeisters, and half term governors who are only in it for them$elve$, and who will feign innocence when the shit finally goes down. (BIll O'Reilly - "Dr. Tiller The Baby Killer" - are you listening?)
The first picture is shocking. Fifteen years later, it still amazes me how a truck bomb parked in front of a building could so quickly gut an entire building.
We should never forget.
But perhaps, more importantly, the picture we should focus on is that of tiny Baylee.
That beautiful child should be a sophomore in high school, excited about her driver's license, nervous about the SATs, will she get a date to the prom?
That image should serve as a stark reminder to those who are stockpiling weapons and ammo, seed gardens, gold bars, and MREs that nothing they are angry about is worth one child's life.
And perhaps, just perhaps, they owe it to her memory to seek out information and FACT beyond the spin zone of AM radio and their favorite "news" channel.
Anger is fine. As long as it is backed by a factual understanding of why you are angry. If you are angry just because Glenn Beck's chalkboard told you to be angry, that's not good enough. Discontent is great. As long as you can spell your grievance correctly on your sign. And action is perfectly acceptable, too. Protest. Write coherent letters to your representatives. As long as you remember that YOUR way of thinking is not the ONLY way of thinking. If you care so very much, prove it. Replace your fabricated rage with FACTion.
You know as well as I do that something bad is going to happen again. It's only a matter of time before another firefighter carries another Baylee and another innocent life is lost to arrogance, ignorance, and selfishness.
Look at Baylee and ask yourself, "Is my anger worth another child's life?"
The answer is NO. Timothy McVeigh's wasn't. No one's is.
In that respect, I do still believe in the greatness of this nation. We ARE better than that. The majority of people ARE better than that. We just have to start standing up to those bad apples who are destroying the pie of the United States of America.
For you. For me. For Baylee...