We are seeing sterling manifestations of the dying of an out-dated but once-dominant belief system in the U.S. Just this week the supposedly conservative U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of federally subsidized health care for some Americans and made same sex marriage legal across the land. This is especially unpopular among the loud crowd in the Old Confederacy and among the bloviators who trade in prejudice against any minority except white males.
As my by-passed generation (the only two Boomer presidents were Clinton and Bush 2) passes from the scene, the younger and more open-minded generations will see the continued decrease in Christian fundamentalism and all the narrow-minded, my way or else, beliefs.
As we are seeing all across the Middle East, the old violent patriarchal belief systems are under siege by modern life, technology, women’s education, birth control, global corporations and all the other trends (good and bad) that are threatening to homogenize the planet’s human population. Any Saudi sheik has got to be threatened by women wanting to drive a car, children sexting one another on cell phones, Bollywood films, religious or sexual tolerance, youtube, Facebook, and all the other things that the Western world spreads across the surface of the Earth. In East Africa the old order is vehemently opposed to gay freedom and its confrontation with the traditional views of “manhood.”
You cannot maintain fundamentalist superstitions in the face of science, technology and consumer pleasure. Thus fundamentalism has always feared science, technology, non-religious thought and freedom for women because most old-fashioned religions were based on a male god, male dominance and violence toward non-believers. Whenever these fundamentalist views are opposed and losing ground they become more and more violent. The Catholic Church became its most hideously cruel AFTER the Reformation when that church tried to wipe out Protestantism. The current pope would have been summarily tortured and burned a mere 500 years ago.
So here in the U.S, the Old Confederacy and its Biblical fundamentalism are losing sway and the adherents are becoming ever more agitated and desperate. Expect even more violence against groups not seen as “real Americans.” Our hopelessly gerrymandered and boluxed electoral system that gives Mississippi as many Senators as California will not deal with gun violence in any realistic way. Only if and when corporate profits are threatened will the U.S. be politically able to deal with domestic gun violence.
There were Newton’s dead elementary schoolers, college kids slaughtered at Virginia Tech, a high school massacre at Columbine, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, a Naval facility attacked in D.C., a Congresswoman shot in Arizona, attacks on churches in South Carolina and Wisconsin. There are deep hatreds and millions of guns loose across our land, a land with a woeful mental health system, little control of automatic weapons that can fire dozens of bullets in a short time and no public awareness that our real enemies are not just in the Middle East, they are the right-wing fanatic next door. After the South Carolina tragedy we learn the 21-year-old shooter had been talking of his goals, a race war, killing the enemy. Yet nobody did anything. The NSA has all your email information but not a single bureaucrat is in charge of tracking tomorrow’s mass killers today. Nobody viewed the killer’s web postings until after the attack. The profile of these mostly young, isolate, violent, gun-toting white males is not a mystery. Still, we do nothing but sell them guns. I weep for the ineptness of our government and its enemies who want freedom for guns but not the freedom of the victims to live, nor the freedom of the rest of us non-violent Americans to live without fear.
So mass murders will continue to be a stunning hallmark of modern American culture as that thin fringe of panicked (mostly) white males take the only easy path to power they feel to be their right: mass violence against those who refuse to heal to the old ways, the old beliefs, the racist, misogynistic, patriarchal view of the world that would have been standard doctrine on the eve of the American Civil War. Change is slow and the disappearance of publicly honored Confederate flags will only be a small token gesture, the hatred and panic will live on in the minds and prejudices of the white males who can no longer expect to be in charge just by virtue of their genetics. Thus must the American Dream confront the American Nightmare.
What is needed is the ability to call national referenda to settle issues Congress cannot face i8n dayight.