…Right about now, I, personally, am finding it deafening.
In the wonderful film The Gods Must Be Crazy, there is a scene early on where the female lead sits down to lunch in her workplace cafeteria, and a women sitting next to her and asks “Is the noise in my head bothering you?”. Always loved that line…
One of the reasons I blog, probably one of the reasons many of us blog, is to send that inner noise out where it may bother some people, may resonate with others, but in sending it out, I can try to make sense of it and quiet it down a bit.
This past year, the past few weeks, the past few days have been filled with an unusually large amount of noise inducement – from the trivial at home and at work, to the endless supply of manufactured outrage here in the US – and I suspect elsewhere as well, I just feel it more here, to a staggering number of refugees, to an uptick in violence and terrorism across the globe.
“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
— John F. Kennedy
Which all keeps my mind stuck on the recurrent themes of willful ignorance – believing a lie or conspiracy theory, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because it fits your beliefs or your viewpoint better than the reality; of why fundamentalist beliefs – of all types – are inherently problematic because they lock out all opposing views, and generally oppose any outside education for the children because that leads to challenges, and challenges are unacceptable; and of the easy acceptance, in our continually connected, sound byte driven world, of anything that rallies us to angrily defend ourselves from existential threats. War on Christmas? Seriously? There is none, and even in my baby-boomer Catholic youth, my parents sent out Happy Holidays & Seasons Greeting cards because not all of my family’s friends were Catholic. So this alleged ‘war’ of ‘political correctness’, if you believe that there is one – is far, far older than me. To those that worry about the war on Christmas, I’d urge you to look carefully at your Christmas tree – and understand it’s origins – and to ask yourself how much consumerism you are personally supporting, and, most importantly, to ask yourself why it is that someone saying something nice to you is somehow offensive when it isn’t the precise nice thing that you wanted to hear? While you are busy complaining about a lack of respect for your beliefs, you might also want to consider how much respect you show for others – especially service providers – when a kind word pisses you off.
To those of you that still believe, somehow, in spite of all evidence to the contrary – and there is quite a bit – that Planned Parenthood is nothing more than an abortion factory busily making a fortune by selling baby parts – well, I actually think that you need to take a good look at yourselves and your lack of interest in the facts. And ask yourself ‘why?’. Is it because of the hate spewing propaganda machine that has chosen to continually repeat the lie and ignore the truth – and you choose to only get your news from sources that provide the narrative you want to hear? Is it because a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth? Is it because the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination either continue to repeat the lie, or simply leave open the possibility that the lies are true?
Here’s the problem with all of that continual outrage fed by lies and distortions: mentally unstable people, like Richard Dear in Friday’s siege at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, lack the filters and controls that more rational people have. They act on this misinformation because they feel compelled to. Rational people acting on their manufactured outrage will complain, possibly protest, favor candidates that share the narrative (or continue to feed the outrage). Irrational people do all of those things but they don’t stop there – they harass, they bully, they get violent. Dear has not provided a coherent motive, because there likely isn’t one (why do we always want sane, rational explanations, for insane acts?), but it seems to have been confirmed that he did mention ‘no more baby parts’ in his statements to police.
“No cause justifies the deaths of innocent people.”
— Albert Camus
And the silence on the part of the GOP & Conservatives has been deafening – only Ted Cruz managed any expression of sympathy as of this writing. Three people lost their lives, and nine others were injured, but I assume that since this happened at a Planned Parenthood facility, the poor conservatives are in a tough spot. They’ve been selling the bogus bullshit that directly led to the attack. So what can they possible say? The police officer that died and the four others injured don’t count for the pro-law party because of where the shooting occurred? The two dead civilians and four injured ones somehow deserved it for being anywhere near that clinic? We really need to address the issues of mental health in this country? It was God’s will? Certainly it would not be to say that ‘violence is never the answer’, or perhaps that the right to life extends to those you disagree with? Politically, they probably are better off ignoring it – any response is likely to anger some part of their base because it will be the wrong one.
“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”
— Benjamin Franklin
How refreshing it would be if someone with any sort of gravitas in the GOP were to honestly say “This has to stop. We cannot build a campaign on lies and fear stoking.” With Donald Trump and Ben Carson still leading in the polls, that will never happen, but I would have an awesome amount of respect for any one of those candidates who could manage the truth for a change.
I’m not holding my breath.
“Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”
– Bertrand Russell
Photo of the Rock Mountains taken in Colorado Springs this past July.