Wanted: a New Plan


An email arrived from Jon Carson, Executive Director of Organizing for Action. You know, one of those mass sends with a personal touch, (“Missy~”). If you opened yours, you’ll recognize these sentences:

Maybe you’ve seen firsthand how gun violence can rip apart a family and a community.

Or maybe you’re concerned by what you see on the news.

Share your personal story or views on why Congress should act right now to help protect our kids and reduce gun violence.

President Obama said it: ‘More than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun’ in just the two since the tragedy in Newtown.

Each of those families deserves a vote by Congress on commonsense measures to help protect our kids.

But we need to demand it.

I lingered on “seen firsthand” because I have personal knowledge of gun violence, WMD carnage. After all, the place I call home not only arms the planet but also terrorizes it. This is done with my hands, my purchases, my signature, my tax dollars. Shame is firsthand, intimate. And, yes, I can tell the story—the dismemberment of families and the destruction of civilizations.

Of course, I’m concerned by what I read in the news, mainstream as well as alternative. I wander to MSM outlets, mostly in the interest of research. As I’ve said before, to take the pulse. I spend significantly more time with the alternative, to read the real, and I’m not shocked anymore—by depravity, anything. Not surprised when I open Google to see among Top Stories a Kardashian, Lady Gaga, another sighting of Kate Middleton’s baby bump, a shooting. One day this week, I clicked to an MSNBC interview with the exceptionally American Madeleine Albright—her opinion of drones. Instantly, I was flung to 1996 when Albright, on “60 Minutes,” said “…we think the price is worth it.” The “price” to which she referred—half a million children who died as a result of sanctions on Iraq. Despite Albright’s later regret, that she came “across as cold-blooded and cruel,” she refers to drone warfare as “effective.”

When Jon wants me to understand the compassion of Barack Obama, all those rites of passage missed during the months since the Newtown massacre, I see more than Connecticut. I stare at a president’s narrow empathy, confined to the USA, and think of the thousands of birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, all that’s been stolen from families in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa since Obama took the oath.

Yes, each family “deserves” a voice. Each merits “commonsense” measures. But not just families here in the U.S.—also families in other countries, families whose lives are assaulted daily by imperial plunder.

Carson, organizing for action, insists we demand that Congress act to protect children. If I respond with my personal story to Congress, will there be any other outcome than what’s been decided already by Big Greed behind closed doors?

This is what fascism looks like—multinational corporations not just at the table but seated throughout the mansion, manipulating their representatives. Masterfully they direct. In every area, including allowing us those zones of dissent from which we naively shout, “This is what democracy looks like.”

Once, I thought my presence at protests was important. Now, I ask what we’ve accomplished—even with the huge rallies near the White House or in Manhattan. Beltway “leadership” must laugh when we chant for environmental health, peace, civil rights, our myriad demands for justice.

The distillate is this: We. Need. A. New. Plan. One that thwarts the flow of money to the ginormous Military/Corporate/Security Juggernaut. This is within the jurisdiction of sanity, but is it within the realm of the possible?

Missy Beattie can be reached at missybeat@gmail.com.



Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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