Giving credit where credit is due is something I take a personal pride in, and the inglorious twofer in Charleston, South Carolina, where the right wing got a double play for gun fetishism and its racial southern strategy out of a single incident of white on black gunfire is worthy of an attaboy.
The mythical beast of reverse racism and the actual beast of the National Rifle Association proved its half a century worth of public coitus was not all humped in vain, spawning a demon child in Dylann Storm Roof (I do hope Wolf Blitzer is going to tell us whether his nickname is Stormy or Roofie, because I think there is something there).
Propaganda from a million radios and a zillion political pulpits have instructed your oppressed white man for several decades now that government, indeed is a huge chocolate bunny reaching into his khakis for tax swag, soon to be siphoned off to the dark-toned, shiftless underclass…this the root of America’s problems.
For those same decades The NRA, the new military wing of Gideons, added the Holy Weapon to the Holy Bible in every hotel room, classroom, bathroom, church, mall and baby crib in our exceptional land.
According to the New York Times, young Dylann got a .45 from Dad for his birthday. Somewhere there, there’s an O’ Henry story from hell.
You may think the American right’s greatest success is the stranglehold it has on American progress and American sanity in state and federal legislatures, its obstruction of financial reform, its suppression of voter rights, its menacing of universal access to health care, fairer wages, Social Security, economic growth, the safety net, and a response to climate change. But it’s taking over in the streets too, its gun toting, gun flashing, racially embittered, ideologically zonked troopers showing up everywhere, not just tea-party rallies and anti-Islam carny shows, an army of George Zimmermans telegraphing in the streets with its conspicuous weaponry who it thinks is boss.
The NRA will tell us, as they told us after Newtown, that, as tragedy could have been prevented there had the elementary school possessed sufficient armaments, and moviegoers in Aurora could have averted mayhem if only they had not left their weapons at home to attend a movie, they will say the worshippers in Charleston might have stopped the gunman had they had their pieces next to them in the pews. This isn’t satire we’re laughing at, it’s dismal reality we’re living in. And frankly, abiding. Anything less than disbelief at this state of existence, and revolt, tells me we are a numbed, impotent and resigned nation.
The irony gods did give us the gift of the Rachel Dolezal freak show literally blown out of the spotlight with a genuinely troubling story of race, and that other American perennial, violence. If there is a lesson here for the media here about skewed priorities they will surely miss it. Or worse, and per usual, arrogantly, complacently ignore it.
Yes, fellow Americans, another wacky day at the All-American amusement park. In the immortal words of Latka Grtavas: Boy, America’s a tough town.