Same As It Ever Was
The Bloomington Alternative
Change is in the air. Some of this is welcome change: the grassroots democracy movement across the Middle East and North Africa comes to mind. As does the worker uprising in Madison, Wis., and cities and towns across these United States.
More often than not, however, this change has been catastrophic. Weather-related disasters of historic proportions are wreaking havoc on the people and the land across the American South. Overseas, the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to threaten public health and safety in northeast Japan and beyond.
In the era of 24/7 news, it seems we’re witnessing world historic events unfolding in real time. And yet, despite all of this upheaval, lately I’m reminded of the old proverb: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Consider the following.
On Tuesday, NPR’s All Things Considered ran this essay by Julianna Baggott. Ms. Baggott took issue with critics of college students and others who took to the streets to celebrate the targeted assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Defending young people’s cheering news of Osama Bin Laden slaying, essayist Julianna Baggott suggests we should cut the kids some slack. Ms. Baggott contends these celebrations were not inspired by blood lust, but rather by “relief” and “a release of fear.”
Those cheering crowds mistake vengeance for justice. Likewise, Ms. Baggott mistakes catharsis for frat boy patriotism.
And the suggestion that celebrating bin Laden’s death is evidence of young people paying attention strains credulity.
Ms. Baggott concludes that articulating a sense of unity is “a good skill” for college students to acquire “because maybe before the next war starts, they’ll be the ones who learned to take to the streets, chanting; maybe next time it will be in protest against war.” With two – make that three – costly and unpopular wars, it makes you wonder what these young people are waiting for.
I suspect it is only the “fear of a renewed draft,” Ms. Baggott conjures that is going to motivate college students to pay much attention, let alone get emotionally invested in the anti-war movement.
Since late Sunday evening, its been “All Osama, All The Time.”
Press coverage of the targeted assassination of Osama bin Laden — the inspiration for the 9/11 attacks and countless other atrocities — has followed a predictable path.
The President declared that it was “a good day for America” and the corporate media uncritically echoed these sentiments. Heck, even right wing ideologues like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh were congratulating Obama for taking out America’s Most Wanted. Among the more startling images were those depicting “frat boy patriots” chanting “U. S. A.” for the cameras and, I suppose, history.
Categories: Media, National, News media, Politics, Radio, Resistance, Social movements, Television, World "war on terror", bin Laden, historicism, Obama, press coverage, targeted assassination