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Yes, Things Have Been This Bad Before. In Fact, They've Been Far Worse.

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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It's closing in on a week before an American election. For some people this means that everything absolutely must be about nothing but that election, with hyperbole.

The president of the United States is fear-mongering over the approach of a convoy of Latin American immigrants to get his "base" to the polls.

His Democratic opponents are pretending that every Republican voter is a potential mail-bomber, for the same purpose.

As I write this, a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pennsylvania doesn't seem to lend itself well to the election narrative yet. Democrats are already trying to make it about guns. Republicans note that the shooter apparently disliked Trump for being "too pro-Israel." I'm sure the competing election-related talking points will jell before Election Day.

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Things seem pretty bad, don't they? In fact, in a Facebook political conversation the other day a loved one somberly informed me that "things have never been this bad."

Whoa. Just one minute there. Never?

Even focusing on the three aforementioned items, that's not the case. Migrant caravans have been running since at least 2010, "suspicious packages" have been a weekly occurrence since the 2001 anthrax scare, and mass shootings at churches (and schools, and workplaces, etc.) have been above-the-fold news items since Columbine.

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But let's look back a little and remember how bad it's been before.

Does the date September 11, 2001 ring any bells?

How about the Los Angeles riots of 1992 (or the Watts Rebellion of 1965)?

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, followed by the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968 and preceded by the assassinations of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965 and John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963?

Remember Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)?

Or Black Friday (October 29, 1929)?

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Or the whole period from April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865 (and after)?

It's a long, long way downhill from where we're at, and we've been much, much further down that slope before. More violent. More fearful. More bigoted. Definitely poorer.

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Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


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Maxwell

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When people say politics is more rancorous than it's ever been before I remind them there once were pistol duels on the floor of the House of Representatives.

When Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany in 1932 there was massive unemployment, and hyperinflation. Still, I don't doubt that if that were the world Trump was elected into we'd be on exactly the same trajectory. Since it isn't, though...

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 7:37:28 PM

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Leslie Johnson

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I would have to disagree with 'things have never been this bad', counter examples notwithstanding.


The present state of affairs is the result of a government (ours) that has a sufficient number of very bad players that blatantly announced in the early 90's that there was going to be a New World Order and the Plan for the New American Century was written citing that 'nothing short of a New Pearl Harbor would be necessary for the American People to get behind our going to war in the Middle East.


That gave rise to the latest False Flag attack, 9/11. What kind of country would do such a thing to its citizens? Apparently one on the path to global hegemony at the cost of thousands of its citizens in New York (and, yes, I do believe the US was actively involved in that disaster), leading to mass surveillance of it's citizens in the aftermath, collecting all our emails, making air travel dreadfully annoying (understatement), and continuous war since we invaded Afghanistan who never attacked us...nor has Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen...and "we're" talking like Iran is next, or God forbid, Russia.


There are 29 countries that the US has bombed since the end of the Second World War. No war has been officially declared since WWII.


The costs of these wars, the impact on climate change because of them, the neglect of infrastructure here, millions of lives lost around the world as well as those of our soldiers is obscene.


Our disgusting system of Capitalism squarely puts profit over people and money into the hands of those who most certainly do not need more....and Constitutionally speaking, I would say that that pretty much makes Capitalism, as practiced here, unConstitutional. Our government is no longer for, of or by the people.


Come election time, the immoral among us purge voters off the voting rolls, use voting machines that flip votes, allow Corporations to donate massively to campaigns for candidates that will continue to put corporations over people....and we're asked daily for contributions to candidates, like we could even hope to come close to matching corporate donations.


I could go on..but by in large, most of us are well aware of this. Our voices are not respected. We could have a lot of good things in this country if the will of the government was so inclined...but the government, just like we the people, puts money into what is important to them. Apparently for the government, it's war and profits. For the people, I believe it's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


None of the bad situations cited in this article are to be dismissed...but none of them lasted 16 years and counting...and the rise of mass shootings, the angry division of people, distortion of facts by our President and MSM are doing nothing to promote the restoration of peace and even a semblance of prosperity in our country today. The majority our population are ill-informed.


I certainly recognize the need for all of us to vote. Despite that, GW and Trump got in office without the majority vote. Was that the elites or the government giving us the finger? Feels that way.


I'd love to see candidates who really are 'for the people' massively win in November. I acknowledge I am jaded, but I'm trying to hold on to a thread of hope...for this country and all the other ones we are destroying.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 8:01:56 PM

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Daniel Geery

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You forgot massive overpopulation, overconsumption, and rampant ignorance, but I imagine they'd be on your extended list. 😉

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:32:10 PM

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Daniel Geery

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Thomas, You neglect abrupt climate change and near term extinction, not to mention our extreme proximity to WW3.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:23:17 PM

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