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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/23/10

Unjust America: Metering the Casualties

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As rightwing distemper feeds the frenzied run-up to the midterms, refudiating today's mounting degrees of American injustice isn't likely. Not that all injustice accrues to GOP reactionaries, only most, and certainly the most extreme wedge issues: Islamophobia, racism, nativism, especially towards Latin guest workers, threats to amend Constitutional mandates, militarized religious crusades, and the successful defamation of our Christian, American, pro-corporate president as "foreign other."

What we need, beyond the pathetic "Homeland Security Advisory System" (colorized terrorist threat levels)is a national Justice-Injustice Meter, pointing us towards a more just society or the opposite. What kind of instrument would otherwise unify the cacophony of chaos that plagues radio and TV? "All Americans" are literally instructed by our Homeland Security website to 1) "stay informed about what to do during an emergency" and "continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicious items or activities to local authorities immediately."

Isn't that what we of the contested "professional left" perform with ardor stay informed and vigilant, declare (Constitutional) emergencies, notice surroundings and reporting suspicious (subversive, anti-American) activities to local authorities? Are we to blame when White House "authorities" consider us "insane," or crazed, drug addicts?

Politicized Injustices Rule

One can ferret out conditions that still favor an arguably just, at least orderly society: our electricity works almost all the time, dying from disease or starvation is uncommon, Medicare and Social Security function, we pay taxes and elections confirm officials. Despite two years into a scary Great Recession, there aren't reports of major or violent disturbances. Certainly, there's more bluff than battle on secession or bullying insurgencies against minorities or authorities. Okay, we need more variety of political street protests, but that's another topic. There's some justice in having no more serious crime than during good times.

Notably, gay rights are inexorably slogging ahead, making significant legal gains, fighting off prejudiced opponents, and benefiting from demographic shifts (as oldsters depart).That "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" still penalizes loyal soldiers yes, that undermines progress, but orientation dismissals are doomed, we hope,before 2012.

On the injustice side: our Constitution, hardly restored from eight years of Bush-Cheney's depth charges, absorbs body blows, and with insufficient defense from Democrats. GOP propaganda undercuts the Bill of Rights, seeking to redefine citizenship while misrepresenting intact protections on speech and religion. Both racist profiling and presumption of guilt driving Arizona's immigration law affront long-held traditions of fairness and due process rightly challenged by the Obama administration. Likewise, polarized attacks targeting the misnamed "Ground Zero mosque" reverse our basic commitment to worship, plus impugn law-abiding Americans who honor all local zoning rules while separating themselves clearly from 9/11 betrayers of Islam.

Cynical rightwingers who invoke "hallowed ground" condemn their own intolerance, for they contaminate a sacred national trust by demagoging our first, most hallowed right to worship divinity without censure. That unjust ambushes dominate the media shames our history and broadcasts to the world our latest hypocrisy. Equating law-abiding Muslim citizens with terrorist murderers besmirches our nation's moral standing, a low point even for ruthless Gingrich-Palin-FOX reactionaries.

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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