A malady is a disease or disorder and although related, is different from an infirmity which is considered a physical or mental weakness. Regardless of the contextual meaning of each of those words, it is safe to say they denote sickness. After the events in a historic Charleston South Carolina church on Wednesday night, it is glaringly apparent that America is seriously sick; maybe mortally so. Sadly, the malady afflicting this country is one being exacerbated by conservatives, particularly Republican-type conservatives, and their various hate-mongering media outlets. Racial animus toward African Americans is a cancer, and it is all the more deadly since, primarily, conservatives have worked tirelessly to put guns in the hands of racist Americans; racist law enforcement has guns by virtue of their job.
Everyone from President Obama to the mayor of Charleston has made a specific point of saying the aftermath of a racially-motivated gun massacre of nine innocent and unarmed African Americans is a time for healing. Although they said the right thing, everyone is certainly sincere and they mean well, and they truly hope to comfort the victims’ families, survivors, and distressed Americans suffering the same pain, disgust, outrage, and sadness they feel after every other senseless gun slaughter. However, there is no healing for this sick, violent, and racist nation, and everyone knows it.
The best any American can say at this juncture is “we hope it goes away;” because prayer has not, does not, and will not work, education and tolerance training has not worked, and integration has not worked or this issue would not keep rearing its head; the gun culture and racism are too entrenched in the population. There is little President Obama can do that will expedite changing the gun culture or relieve racism much less heal anything or anyone; he does not possess the supernatural or legislative power to execute that kind of healing. Even addressing the African American population and assuring them they are victims of racism, or acknowledging that the killings were racially motivated will not change or heal anything. Every African American in this country knows what the problem is, but they also know it is not going away anytime soon; especially since it has persisted unabated for a century-and-a-half without pause.
The Confederate racist who killed the churchgoers is ultimately at fault in the legal sense, but reality informs that he is just the result of generations of racial animus toward, and perceived superiority over, all people of color, particularly African Americans and particularly in Confederate flag-flying South Carolina. As an aside, in America there is no excuse for a state government, or anyone for that matter, to dare fly any flag higher than the Stars and Stripes; it is an abomination and insult to the entire nation and informs the underlying white supremacy mindset in the South.
The idea that white people are superior to African Americans is what drives the racism toward Blacks in America; it is indisputable and has continued long after the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. This nation was nearly rent asunder, and over three-quarters-of-a-million American citizens perished, because the Confederacy was certain that white people were superior to dark-skinned slaves and they waged a war of rebellion to preserve ownership rights over “their property.”
As the nation has witnessed over the past six years, that white supremacy sentiment has never subsided. A disease like racial animus that persists, and was fed, over the course of 150 years while resisting every form of ‘healing’ intervention, law, and ‘cure’ is not going away; add in a cowardly mix of voters and Republicans panting for more guns, and it is truly remarkable that these massacres are not weekly occurrences. It is true that law enforcement is gunning down unarmed African Americans at a regular pace, and although they are usually single victims, the motivation behind the killings is always the same; racial animus toward African Americans being regularly stoked by conservative mainstream media.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson reported that white supremacist and conservative mouthpiece, Ann Coulter, demeaned immigrants (people of color) and warned Americans that they should “get used to your little girls being raped and impregnated” by “non-European” (read non-white) immigrants.” Coulter implied that non-whites were a bunch of “Third World” low-lifes and specifically warned that America was on pace to turn into Uganda if nothing was done, and done soon. It is little wonder, then, that before the Confederate-proud racist gunned down 9 African Americans during a prayer meeting he said exactly what he has heard and learned over the course of years; “I have to do it. You rape our women and you are taking over our country. And you have to go.” According to the shooters’ roommate, Dylann Roof was “big into segregation…he wanted to start a civil war;” the Confederate license plate holder on his vehicle bears out the roommates’ assertion.
That kind of hate-filled and racist sentiment is not innate, it is learned. It is just like there is nothing innate about carrying a firearm into a place of worship; that kind of thinking is also learned. It is that learning that has gone on since the Civil War that informs the nature of America’s incurable diseases; racism and gun addiction that permeates the Southern United States. It is not to say that there are not gun addicts and racists throughout the United States, there certainly are, but it is particularly prevalent across the lower half of this country and it is heavily promoted by the conservative movement because it brings in the dependable white supremacy and gun fanatic vote.
Vice President Joe Biden called the massacre “the senseless actions of a coward,” but the Vice President either missed the point entirely which is unlikely, or he wisely decided to hold back from uttering the sick, sad truth about the malady plaguing America. The real cowards are all the Republicans, and more than a few cowardly Democrats, who are terrified of standing up to the National Rifle Association. However, those cowards would not be serving in Congress and state legislatures without the expressed consent and support from the biggest cowards of all; 95% of American voters who claim, after every bi-annual event featuring the “senseless actions of a coward,” that they want and support stricter gun laws. What is stunning, really, is that a major percentage of the 95% will then elect Republicans they know will support the NRA and block even the sanest gun laws; especially in South Carolina.
One of the victims, Reverend and state Senator Clementa Pinckney introduced legislation in 2013 mandating stricter background checks for gun purchases, but “it remained stuck in committee” while legislation allowing people to carry weapons in more and more places sailed through the South Carolina statehouse. Certainly a fair portion of the 95% of Americans who support background checks elected Republicans who blocked Senator Pinckney’s legislation due to fear of crossing the NRA.
Americans vote for ‘pro-armed population’ candidates because even those who do not own firearms are just as cowardly as Republicans serving the NRA; and they are racists whether they admit it or not. If a majority of Americans did not harbor racial animosity toward people of color, or really wanted sane gun laws, they would put an end to Republicans at the ballot box, crush the NRA’s influence, and use their remotes to end the racist conservative media that panders to white supremacy and racism.
The media certainly understands, just like Republicans, that racism is as deeply ingrained in American society as gun addiction is a cultural badge of honor, particularly in the former Confederacy. Combined, racism and gun addiction make up a disease that is not only never going away in America, it has gotten, and will continue to get, much, much worse. And since corporate media is prone to feed the people exactly what they want and will pay for, the nation will never heal from racism and gun addiction because it is precisely what conservatives and their wealthy master want more than anything; a diseased America with no cure.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.