by Joe Scarry
It is common for people who have an alcoholic in the family to dread the holidays.
They try to imagine the joy and celebration, but in their heart they know what’s really coming is just the next episode of drunkenness.
The United States is like that alcoholic family member, for whom every circumstance is an excuse to hit the bottle. Except, with the US, the bottle is violence.
Barack Obama addresses the nation this evening. He will respond to the attack in San Bernardino that is now being characterized as an act of terror, and linked to ISIS.
For a brief moment, it occurred to me that, on this second Sunday in Advent, as people across this majority Christian country await the coming of the Prince of Peace, the President would go on television and say, “What we are not going to do is respond with more violence.”
But then I quickly reminded myself: Remember who and what you’re dealing with. Remember the reverence in which this country holds violence. Remember that an addict doesn’t magically give up their drug.
What are we going to do . . . ?
Norman Solomon summed up Obama’s speech last night (“Obama’s Speech, Translated into Candor”): ” . . . As much as we must denounce the use of any guns that point at us, we must continue to laud the brave men and women who point guns for us . . .” (emphasis added).
Obama perfectly expresses the psychotic incoherence of US society.
Again I ask, What are we going to do . . . ?
Anyone who has had to write a speech knows that the hardest part is to land on the main idea. Once you’ve got that right, the rest practically writes itself.
It’s way too easy to launch U.S. missiles. (Maybe if it were a little more costly, challenging, or painful to carry out these attacks, they would at least require someone to give an explanation that makes sense first.)
How do you formulate a statement that can somehow convince the United States to eliminate its threatening nuclear weapons? How do you formulate the 10th request? Or the 100th? Knowing all the time that the United States is in the position — willalways be in the position — to say, “No” ? At what point does it dawn on you that the United States will nevergive up its nuclear weapons, becauseit has the power and the rest of the world doesn’t?