Saturday, May 18, 2013

American Values Need Re-examination

These days we cannot watch the news without hearing about rape and violence, power over another, perpetrated by someone full of rage and insecurity, victimizing those less powerful physically and/or emotionally. Ours is a society that criminalizes some forms of violence and glorifies others. No wonder we are confused and frightened.
Recently, we became disturbed because some military leaders who are supposed to protect others from sexual assault may also be performing these same aggressive, soul- crushing acts against others. We elect our leaders to uphold our wholesome American values but some violate the law, covering up criminal acts, lying to those who believed in them.
Why do people rape, terrorize or violate others? Certainly the reasons are complex, complicated and almost endless, many of these actions performed by people with histories of severe trauma or neglect, psychiatric problems and more. But, is violence becoming a norm in America, land of the free and home of the brave? Our young people can’t help but notice early on that life is not fair. They witness not just TV and media sensationalism and horror, they also observe America’s consistent aggression toward other countries and its own citizens, the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed.
America’s heroes are football players who are trained to do whatever it takes physically, within guidelines, to win. Now, we realize we have also damaged these football players from high schoolers to the NFL, those who worked hard and learned a valuable skill only to suffer greatly, becoming brain and/or body damaged. Why do we Americans enjoy and support such a dangerous sport? Do we want this for our children?
Our nation’s leadership sometimes lies to us and starts wars, imprisons people without due process, and carries out secret drone assassinations. Where is the line between between evil and rationalizing our military actions as means to an end, to keep America safe and free while killing huge numbers of innocent people? We live in a country that justified slavery for so long (and still does, if you analyze the prison industrial complex), and we now watch our leaders and heroes do whatever it takes to win, get wealthy, and exploit others for some perceived good. No wonder we have gotten confused about what is right and what is wrong.
Those who assault others physically or symbolically, be they school bullies, elected leaders, our neighbors, or CEO’s, they are the highest numbers of cloaked terrorists in our country. Far more than those from other countries or religions. The irony is that we glorify these terrorists, they are our role models. We are training our children to take what they want no matter what, within the guise of doing good for themselves and the world. Is this a new American value? Are you frightened and outraged by these seemingly heroic American terrorists walking among us every day? I am. 

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