Archive for November, 2012

Not So Surgical Strikes

Friday, November 30th, 2012

 

The recent military clashes between Israel and Hamas organizations within the Gaza Strip has filled me with terrible sadness.  I do not completely understand this conflict nor do I intend to convey an implicit understanding of it to you, my reader.  Rather, I hope to convey the strong emotions I have towards this tragic reality.  Every morning I can wake up in my own bed unafraid of rocket strikes whereas civilians in Gaza and Israel alike spend each day terrified of the possibility that an air strike might end their lives.

 

For example an interview from CNN’s Sara Snider tells the tragic tale of a Gaza family suffering the results of an Israeli “surgical strike.”  At 1:30 A.M. a rocket explosion in the street created a deadly shower of rocks and boulders that destroyed the home of Riba Abu Saitham.  Inside the home Saitham’s husband attempted to shelter their sons, aged four and two, from the rubble but sadly the two children were crushed under massive piles of stone and debris, thus adding their names to the growing list of civilian casualties.  Israeli military forces have not claimed responsibility for the attack, however they justified their actions by claiming that numerous missile strikes on Israel have originated in the surrounding area.

 

I cannot begin to fathom the unnerving dread of a missile destroying everything and everyone I know, simply because my home is near a supposed military target.  While many of us have the luxury to sit at home and ponder which side is right, and which is wrong, many innocent families are left to pick up the pieces of their homes and loved ones.  In spite of the recent cease-fire agreement this spike in hostility reflects the immense tension that has always existed throughout the region.  Watching parents mourn the death of their child as a result of militaristic action vehemently supported by the United States, stirs up both anger and shame, and all I can manage to do is keep witnessing the horror unfold.

 

-Spencer-

The Shameful American

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

 

After news broke that Barack Obama would remain President of the United States, disgruntled voters quickly voiced their displeasure through social media.  With the wave of defeat encapsulating many, racial slurs and hate speech poured through the fountains of Twitter and Facebook.  It is true that social media has opened the floodgates for freedom of speech, but if these derogatory events continue to take place, those responsible may unknowingly ruin the same right for the rest of us.

 

The most prominent red-flag keywords amongst social media analysts were the words “nigger,” “monkey,” and Obama.  The website Floatingsheep.org carefully analyzed 395 tweets containing these keywords and mapped them out across the country.  The greatest concentration of racially charged tweets came from the South, most notably Alabama and Mississippi.  Which happens to be similar to the electoral map from the recent election, where most of the American South was made up of red Republican states.   The results should not be surprising because we live in a country continuously plagued by racism.  Despite the decline of racist sentiment it is appalling to think about the extent to which it still exists and how comfortable some feel about expressing these feelings through internet outlets.

 

 

Nearly 400 students at the University of Mississippi rioted against Barack Obama’s win in a dramatic response fueled by social media.  Reports claim that the mob chanted racial slurs, threw rocks, and burned Obama campaign signs.  This violent event is just another sad chapter in the saga of American bigotry, but it hopefully marks a significant shift towards the eradication of hate speech and racism.  Refute it all you want, but the same people uttering these horrific racial epithets are often times supporters of the Republican right.  This is not an implication that the entire Republican party is part of a racially charged agenda, but rather that the citizens expressing these ignorant ideals are part of their voting contingent and would not be opposed to a re-segregated south.  America cannot continue to ignore those who still support these hateful messages; because they are outdated and have no place in modern society, much less politics.

 

 

-Spencer-

A Political Rocky

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

 

As I stare down at my absentee ballot and think about the power of the vote; strangely, I feel powerless.  After watching at least part of each debate and having a decent grasp on what kind of people Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are; I am still left wanting more. The sardonic side of me says that it doesn’t matter if I write in Mickey Mouse since Obama will almost assuredly win the state of New York.  I think about how I had voted for Obama with a youthful exuberance only to end up feeling duped.

 

Although I am happier to have Obama in the White House than Bush or McCain, there is something I don’t trust about him and the last four years have left me feeling scorned, because of unfulfilled promises.  Since voting for a corporate robot would be absurd, Romney was out.  But the “choice” between him and a president who is responding to deeply troubling issues in a way that makes me uncomfortable, left me feeling cheated.  My “choice” felt more like paper or plastic and I wish to bring my own eco-friendly bag to this presidential jamboree.  For the sake of cutting this grocery store analogy short, it will suffice to say that I went shopping for a third party candidate.  For years I have been searching for that great American hope, a man small in political stature, but big in heart, who will fight on the behalf of the growing downtrodden in this country.  I needed a political Rocky.

 

Early in the 2012 electoral process one man caught my eye who vowed not to take a political donation greater than $100 from any individual and his name was “Rocky” Anderson.  Initially, I thought that no one so idealistic could get 10% of the vote in this venal political system, dripping with corporate dollars that routinely buy politicians.  However his commitment to honesty and integrity intrigued me to delve deeper.  Interestingly, Rocky’s running mate, Luis Rodriguez, has made a career writing and fighting for social justice.

 

After a brief assessment, I think that their credentials in important realms such as intelligence and knowledge of humanity give them a sizeable lead on the Democratic and Republican candidates.  Although I confess that I have a shaky familiarity with the Anderson/Rodriguez ticket, this unknown possibility makes me like them more than either of the two mainstream candidates.  So I write in Anderson and Rodriguez, which for the moment makes me feel like I have a choice, because their agenda more closely resembles my hopes for future government in this country.

 

Loren