Pandering to the Locked-In Electorate
What part of his locked-in electorate would he lose? He’d no doubt lose the men and women who give more importance to their guns than to their children. Among the hundreds of victims of school shootings in recent years there must have been some sons and daughters of hard-core gun activists? How did they feel about losing their children? Has anybody interviewed them? What did they say? Did they notice there were guns involved in the shootings of their children? What do they propose to do about it? If President Trump did a U-turn on his gun policies he would probably lose the Nazis and the white supremacists, the sociopaths and psychotics, the bombers of pre-school toddlers, the military maniacs, and a lot of desperate, ignorant people who have been drafted into the ranks of the alt-right in recent years.
President Trump expresses concern about the country’s mental health, a concern that seems to support his contention that the gun-death problems are due to crazies, not guns. He’s half right. The United States has a mental health problem that is so vast that the authorities there dare not even acknowledge it in its entirety: the country is half crazy–or half the country is crazy, my estimate. Either way, a huge proportion of the population is mentally deranged. Some of them are medicated, others run loose, untreated. Still others are treated with drugs that make them dangerous. What’s wrong with them? It’s simple: they have been born and raised in a dangerous, schizophrenogenic society (a society that fosters insanity) and they’re doing their best to swim in those fetid waters. They live in a world in which one must adopt some degree of insanity in order merely to survive. If not, how do you explain to a citizen that the carrying of lethal firearms is essential in a well-ordered society and that the remedy for the tragic abuse of those firearms is more firearms? In order for a citizen to believe that, he has to be totally detached from reality. I believe that’s an excellent definition of insanity.
President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge a logical connection between guns and gun deaths is his own personal mental health problem. Either he’s in deep denial (one form of mental illness) or he’s adhering blindly to an insane gun-lobby agenda. Either way, he represents a grave danger for his country. The mere fact of seeing the leader of the Free World willfully ignoring a clear and imminent danger to the citizens of his own country is profoundly disturbing. People around the world are asking themselves, “What comes next?”
The Business of America is Business
The United States is in the business (and never doubt that it is a business) of permanent war, not only around the world but within their own country, against their own citizens. If you’re a hammer all you can see is nails, and the Trump administration is a huge bag of war hammers. (The Spanish have a charming saying: “Más tonto que un saco de martillos…” “Stupider than a bag of hammers…”) The US Americans have got the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on sin and the war on science, and now the war on mental health is in the offing. After years of starting wars, the Pentagon (and the CIA, which we will discuss in another post) still haven’t realized that there are problems that don’t respond to bellicose solutions. They haven’t noticed that the principal result of their devotion to wars has been the creation of ever more enemies. Do they really think they can launch Hellfire missiles from Predator drones into weddings without creating some ill will? That’s insane.
The Problem is Profit; Some Suggestions
The solutions to the United States’ principal problems wouldn’t be so complicated and utterly insoluble if the power structure there were capable of relaxing their blind, wrap-your-head-in-a- blanket ideology of predatory market policies; implacable persecution of any foreign political system with even the slightest aroma of collectivism, down to agricultural cooperatives; their rampant racism and disdain for any solution that doesn’t turn a profit.
After years of trying to apply martial and penal solutions to the massive problem of substance abuse in the United States, it should be clear that it’s not only not working, rather creating a whole new set of problems. A saner, more effective solution would be to regulate drugs by law, dispense them according to medical criteria and generally treat drug users as patients, not criminals. That would take the heat off the streets, eliminate in one fell swoop drug dealing and gangsterism (no profit, no dealing), save untold lives and improve untold others.
It would also eliminate most of the profit from the private-prison business. I cannot conceive of someone so cynical that they would prefer drug death and destruction to a peaceful non-violent solution, just to guarantee prison profits. I see in an article in yesterday’s Guardian that a Michigan court has just sequestered the money that a convict serving a life sentence received as payment for a successful book. They allege that this money is owed to the prison for keeping him. This is just one clamorous example of the cruel and unusual tendency of prisons charging inmates for their room and board.
The War on Terror is Off the Rails
As for defusing jihadi terror, the targeted drone strikes are probably a bad idea. Their tendency to take out whole families–or neighborhoods–just creates more enemies. A first constructive measure would be for the Americans to ease the pressure on Muslims around the world, including those within their own borders and those of Middle East hot spots. The latter have their own fish to fry. Members of Sunni and Shiite sects have been at loggerheads since Mohammed’s son-in-law (and cousin), the Caliph Ali ibn Abi Tálib, was assassinated by one of a group of puritanical Muslims called Kharijites in 661 AD, according to History Today. This was the origin of the Sunni-Shiite split, which still persists. No amount of American militarism is going to change that reality. The Americans might consider pulling back and talking. They have nothing to lose except arms sales.