I said it before, and I will say it again: the real tragedy is not the media circus, but that a young man died. It is a shame that a case in Florida that had a tragic end, and was then capitalized upon by sides who didn't care enough before the event, suddenly were galvanized to "sides" on this case. What is shameful, is that folks aren't really focusing on the larger issues: of race, of violence, of fear, of an increasing footprint of media sources to manipulate and distort issues for an vanishingly decreasing number of interests. Those issues are lost, because they aren't quite so easy to discuss. They are hard, because we are fed by these decreasing number of interests that they don't matter. They they have even been "solved," in some cases.
Violence is an end result from frustration. Zimmerman felt that being a hard case to "protect" his community was his only option. He dined on fantasies of "fixing" a problem in a simple fashion. The real issues at hand are hardly simple, and that is why we aren't really looking at them. Hard is not easy to package into a sound bite. We are looking to simplify issues, because we don't really want to look at them too closely. "It's an open and shut case" is far easier to package. Reductionism of issues is easier, because close analysis is not what our media is geared to--not when they are competing for ratings.
We have issues in this country. A lot of them. We are watching a middle class be dismantled. We are watching wealth concentrate within a diminishingly smaller number of interests. We are desperate to distract ourselves from these issues by pretending that they simply don't matter any longer. We have a media complicit with assuaging folks that they don't matter any longer. Race is still an issue, and pretending that is not, does us no services. Minority communities are likewise attempting to blame many of their own issues on someone else, as opposed to taking responsibility for some of them. Likewise, we pretend that conditions that impact folks simply don't exist, and we just have to be "harder" in order to keep folks in line. Everyone is looking to blame someone else, rather than admit, that the collective we are responsible for pooping in our own dog dish, and right now, we are looking at doing anything, including watching Sharknado or Jersey Shore to distract ourselves.
Until we face these issues, within education, within our economy, within our justice system, with our own attitudes on race--and yes, I'm looking at the Asian-American community as much as white America and the African American communities as well--these will remain issues, because the distractions don't really address the larger issues. In part, because they are hard, they are complex, and that doesn't make for easy issues to throw money at, and right now, we have a lot of folks who are competing to get slices of the pie, and use them for their own pet projects, and the glory of said projects.
This means demanding better. Not just of our media, not just from our communities, but from ourselves. To educate ourselves. To help educate and open lines of communication, and KEEP them open. To avoid the cloaking of "sides" as being matters of simple Me versus Them. In part, we keep forgetting that we are in this together. As Americans. As members of a community. And right now, we keep shaving down those tribal gradations in order to make it simpler. My community is under fire from "them." It's the drug dealers fault. It's the junkies fault. It's the fat cats' fault. It's Wall Street's fault.
No it's not. It's our fault. We keep shaving down the lines, and making finer and finer points of belonging because we don't want to admit that when we want to cut spending, we don't really mean to our people, we mean cut spending on things we don't like. Rather than looking at the issues from a larger context, and their impact, we just want simple lines. We don't want to consider ramifications. We don't want to consider context. We don't want look any further than Us, and screw Them. We keep shaving down those lines, and not taking some gottverdammt responsibility, we are going to eventually have to shave them down to not just one's family, but immediate family, and EVERYONE ELSE. That's not helpful. It is shameful and selfish, and folks keep wanting to celebrate the selfish and laud those who cannot look further than their own doorstep, because they don't see themselves in context with anything else. And THAT is the largest issue we face: Us versus Other, as opposed to We.
We the people. Roll the phrase around a bit. We. That's how the nation started. We the People. We included a lot of folks, many of whom were not overly fond of one another, but we included them, because they are our neighbors, our allies, our friends, and even rivals, and we are part of a larger society, and we need to stop thinking about the simple black and white issues, and start looking at the shades of grey, and looking not just at what impacts just ourselves, but look at how it affects folks around us. Because, oddly enough, those things do come around to affect us.
Demonization of crime and drugs, and a draconian approach to "law and order" has exploded prison populations, whose job prospects are vastly hindered once they are released, and we wonder why recidivism is so high? We continue to siphon off jobs, and siphon off opportunities, and we wonder why folks turn to crime as an alternative? We limit education, which further limits opportunity, and then we wonder why folks make their own, and see "us" as the other?
We need to step up. We need to do better. Not just for ourselves, but for all of us. We need to look at these issues not as simple matters, but matters that have context, that have layers. We need to do better than demand simplicity in an increasingly complex world.