Violence is not a catalyst but a diversion.–Conrad
All supernatural horror depends on a confusion of what we believe should be and should not be. As scientists, philosophers, and spiritual figures have attested, our heads are full of illusions; things, including human things, are frequently not what they seem…No one can prove that our existence is a paradox and a horror. Everything is alright with the world.–Thomas Ligotti, The conspiracy against the human race
by Sanjay Perera
The timing is uncanny. Soon after the passing of the great Muhammad Ali and the many tributes given him especially for his drive for peace and struggle against America’s ideology of perpetual war and violence: another act of mass murder occurs in the US. So soon after calls for tolerance and a reminder that Ali was an American Muslim, another Muslim seems to be responsible for an act of carnage in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The result so far of this heinous act is over a hundred people harmed, half of whom are dead.
Would it make sense to even ask anymore: what is wrong with America?
Let me explain.
Bernie Sanders, who continues his struggle against corrupt politics, just as the compromised Democratic Party establishment has been trying to make him end his presidential bid, (but who still has support from some Americans to carry on his fight)–has made a much needed statement on the problem of gun control in America.
But how much of this can actually make a difference?
It is good that Sanders is taking a stand on gun control but he needs to come out even stronger on this; however, surely by now, even those who support Sanders, and others who have believed for a long time that America has lax gun laws, would perhaps finally admit to some extent that their country’s penchant for violence as a form of entertainment, way of life, and national and international policy—is at the core of so much of the murders that plague their society.
Why will such violence continue in America?
Because there will be no mass movement to tighten, once and for all, American gun laws; because there will be no end to identity politics in which people are more concerned with issues of gender, sexuality, religion, ideology and race, among other things. Because identity politics or just razzmatazz sways how people vote for a certain candidate running for political office (for instance) rather than matters pertaining to substance, character and integrity: so things hardly ever change for the better.
In an age of mass attention deficit disorders, obsession with selfies, an emasculated intelligentsia and a generation of youth being brought up through incarceration–what moral grounding is there upon which American citizens can take a united stand against gun violence?
In an era when a corporate-owned warmonger of dubious integrity like Hillary Clinton is considered ‘qualified’ to run for the presidency, and Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee; and (meanwhile, back in Gotham…) Sanders is systematically made the object of voter fraud, and organised misreporting by the corporate media: how likely will even a non-violent struggle bring about positive change within the US?
(It also seems that Sanders may have to come to an arrangement soon to cede the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary, but be available to step in if justice–in its usually tardy form–ever comes to town in the form of an FBI indictment for her email shenanigans.)
In any case, many are still taking note of the lives of celebrities like ersatz activist clueless George (Clooney), and his obscene fund raising campaign for Hillary; not forgetting the latest adaptations of the adventures of Marvel comic superheroes onto the big screen. People are also quite concerned that Captain America may have been working for the ‘other side’ all this while: and this led to angry online messages and threats as a result.
In any case, Obama is busy preparing for his multimillion dollar deals and celebrity lifestyle for himself and his family when he leaves the White House. The American people remain the bamboozled lot they have largely been since Barnum & Bailey made their debut. But America has finally been progressive enough to move from the reign of the confidence man to perhaps that of the confidence woman. When Obama leaves the Oval Office, he may arguably leave his country in a more debilitated and violent form than when he took office: he has indeed, as commentators have pointed out, been hopeless and left his citizens with chump change; slim pickings indeed for those struggling for employment in the world’s foremost democracy.
To those in the US who think they have at some point been living in the land of the free: you continue being stuck in your violent phantasmagoria.
But perhaps as Walter Benjamin said: “The first tremors of awakening serve to deepen sleep.”
 Some places of higher learning take superhero research quite seriously: “Who’s the best-equipped superhero? Student research settles ‘superpower showdown’.”
The writer is the editor of Philosophers for Change.
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