Letter to the editor: Radical Politics, Marginalized Societies: A response to the Orlando tragedy

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It seems that every few years some ambitious individual attempts to claim ownership for the title of “deadliest shooting in U.S. history.” From Sandy Hook, to Charleston, to Orlando, these mass-shootings generally appear to have one very profound (and often overlooked) trait in common:

Both the perpetrators and the victims hail from marginalized segments of U.S. society.

Whether based on race, religion, politics or mental health, these segments are typically subordinated by a capital driven culture that has repeatedly denied them a voice. They have had their political and social rights manipulated and ostracized.

Eventually, after enough violence, oppression, and neglect, their aspirations for an equal future become fully domesticated (i.e. they cease to exist). The final stage in the oppression supply chain not only leads to a docile and tame minority but it simultaneously creates the conditions that ultimately precipitate radicalism. Throw in a pinch of classic U.S. mental health marginalization which is always present, and you have a recipe for violence that is “as American as apple pie.”

Yet, whether or not extremism takes hold often depends on a variety of factors. One of the most important factors for analysis is a review of the establishment media agenda. What are some of the questions they and we need to ask? Let me give you my quick take on the appropriate public forum question and answer session.

First, is religion fully responsible?

My answer is no.

Next, is the so-called “immoral LGBTQ way of life” responsible?

No. Absolutely not.

Did a false interpretation of an Abrahamic religion play a role? Were bigotry and hate essential factors? Do some segments of right-wing American Anglo-Saxon Evangelical extremism hate the exact same way?

Yes, yes, and yes.

These questions, and their natural variants, are those that I believe to be pertinent to the situation at hand. Yet, time after time, we are constantly spoon-fed the same pretextual labels that the mainstream media refuses to abandon:

“White vs. Black,” “Moralist vs. Immoralist,” “Radical vs. Moderate,” “Sectarianism vs. Secularism,” “Straight vs. LGBTQ,” “Partisan vs. Nonpartisan and the list continues.

Failing to look beyond superficial labels dooms us to repeat history. Acts of unspeakable violence cannot be simplified into catchphrase rhetoric or theorems (as the mainstream western media is sure to do). These situations are never as simple as their outwardly visible characteristics. Understanding this fact is essential to repairing the conditions that permit intolerance to continue to exist. We need to recognize that we are all a part of a system of regulation and control, one instituted to avoid the need to address the questions that truly matter. i.e. gun control, mental health regulation, capitalism, non-Anglo-Saxon religious tolerance, and so on.

But then again, do we really expect anything less from a system that permits turncoat politicians to pretend to speak on the behalf of the will of the American people? This is a system that allows radical right wing jingoists (and presidential hopefuls) Ted Cruz and Donald Trump to on one-day label gay marriage legalization “… the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history,” (Ted Cruz), and the next (during the same party primary) to advocate for a complete immigration ban based solely on religious faith (Donald Trump).

Hate begets hate, a truism in its simplest form.

As we are now intimately familiar with those individuals who have the potential to lead our country for the next four years (BOTH Democrat and Republican), are we really surprised by what happened in Orlando? Yes, an act of violence of this nature is so malignant of heart, so hateful, that it is naturally shocking and reprehensible. But, given the amount of bigotry that exists within our current pro-capital political environment, are we truly startled?

We shouldn’t be.

Politics aside, my opinion is this:

My brother is a member of the LGBTQ community. In my experience, it is one of the most diverse and accepting I have ever known. In the name of religion, an abhorrent attack was carried out on this community for the purpose of perpetuating hate and violence. We must fight back against hate with a vigorous passion… but we cannot allow our passions to blind us to the conditions to which hate owes its existence.

For if those conditions continue, Omar’s 15 minutes of infamy will be a distant memory from a time already past… and a new attempt for the ownership of America’s most infamous title will surely be made again in the name of hate.