Violence, Crime & Corruption In America, Part 2
President Nixon Restores the Corporate Status Quo
Richard Nixon ultimately proved to be a hypocritical crook and had to leave office in disgrace. His problem was that he could not stand liberal progressives and would resort to anything to defeat them, crush dissent and protest, and maintain the corporate status quo.
But then, Nixon was an old hand at that. Back in the early 1950s as a U.S. Senator, Nixon had joined right-wing Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy and then Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan in slandering and labeling liberal progressive activists as "communists" and "socialists," in a tactic known as "red-baiting."
In that respect, Nixon, McCarthy and Reagan were much like their Republican and "Tea Party" counterparts in recent years, who slander and label liberal progressives in the same way. They fight dirty just like Nixon and McCarthy did, and such tactics have worked very well against President Obama for the Tea Party, just as they worked for Nixon and McCarthy in silencing political dissent in the 1950s. And it would be worthwhile to examine how, and why.
Back in the 1950s America was very different than it is now. Back then, even though there was a significant amount of unfairness, inequity, corruption and racism, prosperity was more widespread and the middle class population was relatively much larger than it is now, thanks to Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Prosperity was more widespread largely because of the rewards of Roosevelt’s New Deal that was instituted in the 1930s. His New Deal had saved the country from the economic disasters caused by Republicans in the 1910s and ‘20s, whose corruption had caused a horrible financial crisis and plunged America into the Great Depression.
Slowly but surely, all of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs had vastly improved the lives of all the American people. Even minimum wage workers were finally paid a living wage, and they could even save some money, get an affordable higher education, and improve their lot with hard work. By the 1950s the vast majority was much better off than the majority is now, and the middle class had grown large and great.
Roosevelt’s New Deal accomplished that by overcoming the wealthy forces who were driven by greed and self-interest, who had nearly brought the country to economic and financial ruin. He called them "Economic Royalists," but he meant elitists who think they are superior and entitled to excessive, great wealth and power.
Roosevelt save the country by actually putting the country and all its people first. He did it by instituting wage and price controls; establishing proper reforms, regulations and safeguards; and establishing a safety net for the poor and the elderly. He also did it by putting people to work at improving agricultural lands, improving the infrastructure, improving soil conservation methods and restoring agricultural lands, improving facilities in national and state parks, improving and implementing methods to conserve and protect wildlife habitat, and many other such beneficial and rewarding public works and other projects.
In other words, President Roosevelt invested in the people, in the infrastructure, and in the lands of the country, and that investment paid off to the benefit of all Americans.
Unfortunately, in the 1950s the wealthy forces driven by greed and self-interest began to plant the seeds of deception to undermine Roosevelt’s New Deal, and politicians like Nixon and McCarthy spearheaded the deceptive movement. And to do that, it was necessary for them to resort to deception and slander because the truth was not on their side. They had to make it appear that good people were bad.
McCarthy and Nixon slandered influential progressive activists who were conscientious and fair-minded, who stood up for the common man. Nixon and McCarthy labeled them as "communists" or "socialists," because that was the most effective way of discrediting or silencing dissent and protest, squelching and preventing progressive reform, and chipping away at Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Interestingly, what happened in the 1950s is now called the "Second Red Scare," because the "First Red Scare" was back in the 1920s when the wealthiest few Americans were very afraid that the Bolshevik Communist Revolution of 1917 in Russia would encourage American workers to revolt too.
All large American businesses and corporate employers were very afraid of that, which is why they suspected anyone who even talked about income disparity or income gap, or the plight of the working poor. And in the 1920s anyone trying to organize laborers and workers was quickly labeled as a communist or socialist, and some were even attacked and beaten.
Since Stalinist Russia was indeed a tyrannical, murderous empire, Nixon and McCarthy were able to revive that same fear in the 1950s because of the U.S. Cold War with the Soviet Union, and because some American industrialists and corporate executives became very concerned and wanted Congress to "stop the red menace from within." Republican Senators McCarthy and Nixon were glad to oblige. And they were ruthless accusers.
Ronald Reagan’s Early Political Activism, and His Legacy
As Nixon and McCarthy were doing their worst in Washington D.C., another Republican star began to rise in the West. That was Ronald Reagan, who was at that time the President of the Screen Actors Guild in Hollywood. In that role, Reagan was in cahoots with Nixon and McCarthy and accused many good people in Hollywood of being communists.
As is explained in the article on Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy, Reagan did that because at the time he was also a corporate television pitch man for General Electric and he was being carefully groomed for a political mission. GE executives prepared him for a political career, not only by presenting him as a television pitch man and host of GE Theater, but also by sending him out on a nation-wide tour pushing corporate and anti-union ideology. That is what set the stage for his campaign for, and his role as, Governor of California, and then as President of the United States.
Because Reagan was so richly rewarded and so carefully groomed by corporate executives, his political ideology became corporate-friendly, anti-union, and anti-New Deal. That’s why his legacy has been the ruining of the American economy and the worsening of the financial status of most Americans while the wealthiest few have gotten incredibly richer. And that is because Reaganite Republicans have ignored or simply denied what had once made America great — which was Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Reaganite Republicans do not realize that workers are the backbone of society, and when you break its back the whole society is broken. That is the legacy of Reaganism, and we need to fully understand why.
Most Americans now suffer from the inevitable consequences of Reaganite arrogance, short-sightedness, unchecked greed, self-indulgence, and corruption. And that has ultimately resulted in a gradual but steady increase in poverty, crime, and violence.
If you watch television news or read a newspaper or news on the Internet, you know how pervasive violence has become. But, we should realize why whenever another horrific crime or murder or mass murder is committed, and even whenever less sensational crimes and violence are committed, many Americans are quick to rationalize and assume that its just an aberration, and that the problem is merely mentally deranged people.
Unfortunately, that avoids the real problem, and it’s a smokescreen.
Granted, there certainly are mentally deranged people. But most Americans are not aware that many problems involving the mentally ill have grown because of Reaganite folly. For when Ronald Reagan was Governor of California he started the trend of turning mentally ill patients out of state hospitals if they could possibly be diagnosed as "not harmful to themselves or society."
The trend spread across the nation, and it has been a disaster, not only because of the impact of the mentally ill who become violent, but also because of the cost of arresting and incarcerating the mentally ill who cause public disturbance or become a nuisance, or even become murderous. In the final analysis, it would be better for society and the mentally ill if we cared for them as we should, in proper facilities staffed by qualified professionals.
Furthermore, however, we must realize why so many are deranged and mentally ill, and why they are driven to madness. There are very real, very significant reasons why our society has been increasingly infected with rage, and they are the same reasons any society gets infected with rage and drives people to either protest or to act out in horrible ways.
It is largely because their government has not ensured domestic tranquility or promoted the general welfare as it should, and as the Founding Fathers intended. Instead, it has failed them in one way or another, and they have suffered needlessly.
When mentally deranged people commit horrible crimes and senseless violence, they think there is a good reason, and that is what we need to deal with, whether it is to ensure early detection of mental illness, or whether it is to correct what is wrong in society. And it is important that we do both.
Perhaps even more important, we also must face the fact that in too many instances the victims of killers had been targeted by influential hatemongers prior to the deranged killers committing the actual murders. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lennon, Gabrielle Giffords and many other victims had been targeted, or at least been criticized, slandered and even condemned,by those who had indulged in hate speech either written or spoken from behind pulpits and podiums.
Killers like John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray, Mark David Chapman, Timothy McVeigh and Jared Loughner were all incited by influential hatemongers who masqueraded as patriotic and religious Americans. Those killers were not motivated entirely by their partisan political ideology. Some were motivated by "religious" doctrines and incited by false prophets and false shepherds.
We are painfully aware of how extremely dangerous misguided religious zealots can be. But some religious people are in denial about that. For example, following the bombing and killings by a Christian Fundamentalist in Norway, which prompted discussions about "Christian Terrorists," the American Christian Right denied that Timothy McVeigh was also a Christian Terrorist, and they pointed out that in 2001 he claimed he was an "agnostic." However, McVeigh (a registered Republican and member of the NRA), was confirmed in a Christian Church in 1985. Then he became radicalized to the extent that he hated the U.S. Government because he identified with Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed by federal agents in the famous Ruby Ridge incident.
The Weaver’s believed that we are in the so-called "end times," that the "end" is imminent, that the U.S. Government is ruled by "Satan," and McVeigh bought into those beliefs. The Ruby Ridge incident enraged him, and that rage increased when federal agents stormed the compound of the deluded "Branch Davidian" religious cult in Waco, during which some cult members were accidentally killed. Then in 1996, after McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma, he stated to a Time magazine reporter that he "maintained core beliefs" (of his misguided brand of Christianity). It was only later in 2001 that he claimed to be "agnostic."
The point is that Oswald, Sirhan, Ray, Chapman, McVeigh, and Loughner, along with others who are less well known, were driven by deluded "religious" beliefs into killing people. There have been many incidents where killers chose their targets and victims with deliberation, after they had already been targeted by fearmongers and hatemongers claiming to be religious and patriotic, who had incited the killers.
Furthermore, looking at that list of famous and prominent people who have been killed, and why they were killed, we can conclude it was not just a coincidence that they were all on the left side of the political isle. And that makes it absolutely necessary to demand more civil political discourse and repudiate rigid, bigoted and deceptive partisan rhetoric.
Partisan politics has become damaging to the country, and we should stop sweeping the main cause of the problem under the rug, and deal with the real root causes of that sort of violence.
Root Causes of Violence
The real root causes of every day violence in American neighborhoods and homes is not that much different than political or religious violence, because it’s mostly about establishing control and possession. Human beings may be the highest species of animal, but in some respects we are similar to any other animals that fight for dominion. Of course, they fight over water, food, land, property, money and resources, but mostly they fight for dominion.
That’s why neighborhood gangs fight, and it’s why nations fight, when they want to own and rule, rather than share and collaborate as friends and neighbors.
Of course, it’s far more complex than that. You have to consider the inequity of the political-economic system, the inequity of income disparity, the huge income gap between the richest few and the working poor, the lack of parenting education, the lack of job training and education, the lack of juvenile crime prevention programs, the lack of intervention programs for at-risk youth, and the utterly foolish and counterproductive drug laws that have been a boon to organized criminal gangsters and cartels.
All those things either cause problems or fail to prevent them, because those who claim that they are advocating "family values" and "patriotic and religious values" claim that the rich deserve their reward and that there will always be poor people because they are just lazy and deserve their lot. They still claim that there will always be corruption, crime and violence because people are innately sinful. And they still claim that we must just "say no" to drugs and simply prohibit them.
But, it’s not that simple. They turn a blind eye to much reality. They do not see the full picture, and their ideology is for the most part wrong. The self-serving "Gospel of Prosperity" and "Christian Meritocracy" of the Hamiltonians and Reaganites is based on misguided, flawed logic and erroneous assumptions.
Even though this may never be a perfect world, and even though the poor will always be with us, good, fair, equitable, just leadership can and will make it far better than it is now, because bad or foolish leadership has made it a virtual hell for many people who are suffering, while the wealthiest few live luxuriously and even palatially.
Those In Error And At Fault Are Not Necessarily "Bad" People
The judgment of the son of man is not meant to demonize right-wing religious and political leadership, nor is it to make the conflict and division worse. It is to correct right-wing religious and political leadership, so that they may see their error and the consequences of their vain folly, because we are in fact suffering terribly from those consequences — not only in America, but in the whole world.
The forces of greed and self interest have been abusing power throughout history, and history, in that respect, has repeated itself over and over again. But now it time to finally realize and acknowledge that excessive wealth and power always corrupts, and the corrupt always fall from their ivory tower of egocentricity or ethnocentricity or hegemony – which is why the divided "Babylon" is falling. (See the article on The Fall of Babylon.)
Wisdom and history tells us that a nation divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus himself said it. That is why it is so important that we realize why we are so divided and what has produced the conflict, because it’s the ages old battle between the "haves" and the "have nots."
However, while it is true that Jesus said those who have shall get more and those who have not shall lose even more, he was merely reminding us that we reap what we sow. And he clarified that statement by rebuking the rich who profit unjustly, and blessing and advocating for the poor.
People like Jesus of Nazareth, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. all understood that, and they understood the facts of life regarding wealth, property, and rulership. They knew that even though a true servant of God must speak truth to power, those with power and authority may resort to violent and even lethal suppression of those who dare to speak the truth. That is why they all taught that only love can overcome hate, only good can overcome evil, and it will be the humble and meek who shall inherit the earth.
Ironically, those with wealth and power assume it is they who are doing the right thing by being proud, aggressive and even militant in order to gain or maintain power. They do not think they are wrong, and they certainly don’t think they are evil. They have justified themselves in their own mind, and many of them even believe they are justified by their religion. That’s why they dismiss criticism and grievances, and see no need to make corrections, or make amends.
In that sense, American Reaganites are not much better than any of the other wealthy people who rule other countries, who do the same thing. They think they are doing the right thing, when they actually serve the forces of greed and self-interest. They don’t realize that the Reaganite "Gospel of Prosperity" is a self-serving distortion of Jesus’ teachings.
Americans need to realize that the Nazis rose to power in Germany in the 1930s because Adolph Hitler claimed in his book and in his speeches that he was a Christian doing God’s will, and that it was the right thing to do to judge and condemn certain people on the basis of their religion or race or sexual orientation or disability, etc. Hitler even claimed he was ushering in a thousand year reign of the Christ, when he obviously served as the epitome of an Anti-Christ and murderous tyrant.
Now, there are many rich people in America today, of course, who basically understand what Jesus really meant. They understand that we should do good works, and do them not with thought of reward or remuneration but out of love and a sense of service and calling, and realize that truly good works bring a spiritual reward far greater than any monetary reward.
Unfortunately, many rich people have gained their wealth not by good works, but by hook or by crook, or through political and/or military action that was beneficial to them and detrimental to others. They’ve been doing it since ancient times, and they find ever-new ways of doing it.
One of the most cunning ways was in 1981 when most Americans were led to believe that a true "religious and patriotic" American spirit was "reborn," when a very charming man rose to the power of the presidency as a "conquering hero." And it was so cunning that most Americans did not know then, and many still do not know, that Ronald Reagan was actually a misguided demagogue who appealed to the ego, pride and prejudices of the American people.
Ronald Reagan gained presidential power in 1981 with the financial support of very wealthy people who understood that waving the flag, thumping the bible and rattling a sword can stir up zealous emotions and pride. Even though that kind of pride was and is distorted and perverted by bigotry and prejudice, it enabled, and still enables, many Americans to feel superior, whether for nationalistic or religious or racial reasons — and it incites gullible people who eagerly jump on a bandwagon and march to the same drummer, cheering.
The reality, however, is that in 1981 the true American spirit was ignored, and America began its slide down a very slippery slope which would result in the inevitable consequences of self-interest, greed, corruption, bigotry, avarice, mendacity, and religious-military-industrial imperialism. And that is why America is now in turmoil and plagued by conflict and tribulation.
That is why about 60 million poor Americans have insufficient incomes, and it is why 79 percent of the working poor population work full time and yet still can’t afford all the basic necessities of life. (See the articles on Poverty In America, and The American Economy.)
That is why America now leads the world in both the number and percentage of its citizens in prison, and why America has one of the highest rates of violence in the world.
Different Causes of Violence, and The Gang Mentality
Of course, some conflict and violence is not about money, or unfair wages or unfair treatment. But, since much of it is, many people naturally have malicious and even violent thoughts and feelings. And they are contagious. That malicious and violent spirit is so infectious and so bad that rage is becoming epidemic. Even American school girls are beating each other up, and their friends are video taping it and putting it on the Internet as entertainment!
It is because of that contagious spirit that "rabble rousers" so easily infect crowds and groups with anger, and even hate. That’s why battle lines are so easily drawn by partisan political factions fighting for political power, and it is also why battle lines have been drawn by gangs fighting neighborhood turf wars.
That spirit is easily fostered and manifested by the "gang mentality." It infects the offensive and malicious members of the "Tea Party" just as surely as it infects the gangsters and thugs fighting and killing each other in neighborhood turf wars.
Granted, right-wing partisan politicians generally aren’t physically violent, but they are driven by the same malevolent spirit that is indeed violent, because it produces anger and hate. It’s the same spirit that drives neighborhood gangs to intimidate, bully and assault people to gain power and establish their turf, and then fight other gangs to maintain it. They even resort to cowardly "drive-by" shootings to kill rival gang members, and often kill innocent people inadvertently. It’s like what government-sanctioned killers call "collateral damage."
That’s why we should understand the gang mentality, because it infects whole nations with a hegemonic and imperialistic attitude, and it infects partisan political parties and religious sects as well. That’s because it creates and perpetuates a sense of belonging, superiority and power in its members.
The neighborhood and regional gang mentality is merely a microcosm of the larger and more widespread gang mentality. It creates partisanship, nationalism, racism, and religious bigotry. It is also what drives terrorist groups and rogue military regimes. All such "gang" members are led to believe they belong to a superior group, and they are led to believe that they must fight and defeat other groups that are judged wrong. And some are even led to believe they must fight and even kill in order to destroy or gain and/or maintain power over others.
The basic problem is that bullies of all sorts use intimidation, and some even violence or the threat of violence to instill fear and compliance in their victims, erroneously thinking that they command and deserve respect. They think they deserve to rule. They do not realize that in being self-indulgent and treating others badly they have set in motion powerful forces that will ultimately bring about their downfall, one way or another, sooner or later.
Because of this epidemic, many people are prone to anger and even violence. That’s why we have seen increasing incidents of violence due to "road rage," increasing incidents of domestic violence, and increasing incidents of rape. We have parents fist-fighting at their children's sports events. We have professional athletes fist-fighting in sports arenas, and there is growing interest in "ultimate fighting," "cage fighting" and even in dog fighting and cock fighting, all of which are disgusting and appeal to the worst in people. And those are just some of the indicators of what is infecting our society.
However, even though we have many reasons to be angry, we need to learn how to channel it or express it or deal with it in constructive, creative ways, rather than act out in malicious, angry, destructive, self-defeating ways.
How the Media, Popular Culture, and Entertainment Industry Make Things Worse
Americans see all kinds of violence on television. Some of it is intentionally produced and legally sanctioned, and some of it is displayed on the news when perpetrated by people blatantly breaking the law and disturbing the peace.
On television news programs the sports commentators apparently love to show the fights and bad behavior as highlights. But, while the entertainment industry and news media can freely choose subject matter and decide what is newsworthy and what is not, we should question the decisions they've been making. We should question the necessity or usefulness of producing or broadcasting scenes of violence, because it is contagious and fosters more violence. We need to realize what impact words and images have, and use more discretion.
Television producers probably operate on the idea that violence sells, because it does appeal to our lowest, beastly nature. In fact, it appeals to that contagious spirit that has attracted ugly lynch mobs, and it attracts crowds who gather around to watch people fighting. It really should sicken and repel us, but, in the culture we've created, it excites and fascinates many people. It has become entertainment, as it was in the corrupted ancient Roman Empire before its inevitable demise, and its influence has gotten so bad and so pervasive that it could be said we now have a "kick butt" culture in which violence is entertainment.
Unfortunately, there are even worse indicators of that, and worse indicators of our moral decline. In addition to the neighborhood gangs and the partisan political gangs, we also have other gangs. We have thugs and gangsters on some of our police forces, who are also corrupted by the idea that might makes right.
We have even had thugs and gangsters at the highest level of some governments, who are corrupted by the same idea, who fight and kill their enemies in turf wars in different places in the world. And, along with that and as a result of that, we have thugs and gangsters who regard themselves as guerrilla "freedom fighters," even though they are actually criminal terrorists committing indiscriminate mass murder.
They fight and even kill each other to gain power and domain, or to take revenge, and some of them even do it to gain worldly wealth. Thank goodness, the perpetrators are very much in the minority. But, unfortunately, even one power-hungry hatemonger can incite much violence, death and destruction in the world.
However, while the hatemongers and warmongers are the most dangerous and harmful bad examples, there are even more bad examples our children and youth are following, and it's high time we face it because these examples can directly and indirectly lead to crime and violence.
"Gangsta" Rap Music
One notable example is how our children and youth are being influenced by "rap music." For while some of it is good and perhaps most of it is not bad, some of it is terrible and incites youth to develop bad attitudes and bad and even harmful behaviors. Some "rappers," in effect, represent sexist, racist, violent thugs and gangsters, and they are terrible examples and influences on our children and youth. They exploit the appetites and desires of youth who are easily tempted, misled and corrupted, especially those who have a tendency to be disrespectful, rebellious and defiant of the authority of parents, teachers, etc.
Gangsta rap or gangster rap is a subgenre of hip hop music. Its themes and lyrics emphasize the thug or gangster lifestyle, which is extremely sexist and degrading to women, who the gangsters call “Ho” (whore) and “Bitch.” But its main theme actually demonstrated reverse racism as an “in your face” defiance toward white authority.
Many people, both white and black, point out that this was and is a natural and even appropriate response to all the white-against-black racism, slavery, oppression, persecution, and apartheid. It is even customary to give the gangsta rappers a pass, to not criticize them, and to justify their feelings of outrage and rebellion.
However, all Americans need to understand that racial profiling and much of the police violence against black people in 2016 is a police backlash against the black reverse racism, defiance, crime, and disrespect demonstrated by gangster rappers. And while racism, prejudice, racial profiling, stereotyping and uncalled for violence by police against black people is absolutely wrong and must stop and be prevented, it is, nevertheless more understandable put in this context. And it is about time to do so.
Of course, the rappers and other defenders of the genre insist that what started out as an underground “art form” exposes all the contradictions of American culture and it has become a vehicle to expose critical issues that have been virtually ignored in American politics since the 1970s. But that effort to justify and condone it ignores the very real, negative impact the genre has had on young people, especially young black people but also poor white and Hispanic people, which has been extremely problematic for teachers, police, and other authorities.
The genre began in the mid-1980s by rappers such as Schoolly D and Ice-T, and was made more popular later in that decade by groups such as N.W.A., with Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and MC Ren. Snoop Dogg then emerged in 1992 when he was discovered by Dr. Dre of N.W.A, and was prominently featured throughout Dr. Dre's solo debut album.
Accepted now by the entertainment industry, Gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip hop. But that is actually a shame because many if not most of the rappers blatantly demonstrate their associations with street gangs (such as the Bloods and Crips) as part of their image and status. Their impact has been grossly damaging and negative and is one of the reasons many neighborhoods in America are terrorized by gun violence, drive-by shootings, rapes, robberies, and other crimes.
Another negative impact has been that gangster rappers have even made the attitude and culture of black ex-convicts popular. One notable example of that is the "stop snitching" campaign they've pushed on their records and videos. It has tragically enabled many black criminals and gangsters to get away with rape, murder, robbery, assault and battery, and many other crimes, because witnesses and victims have been led to believe that it's a bad thing to "snitch" or report crimes perpetrated by black criminals. It's considered being disloyal to their race.
But that is not true. In fact, it is misleading propaganda initiated by black thugs and gangsters who think they are entitled to do whatever they want and use violence to intimidate and rule, and rappers are responsible for this trend being widespread.
Even some of the most popular rappers who have been embraced by the music industry, the Grammy awards and mainstream commercial media are having a degrading or debasing impact on society and especially on our children and youth, particularly in their attitude, language, and posturing.
It is not being racist to say that. In fact, it is exposing reverse racism and reverse snobbery.
We need to speak out against reverse racism just as much as we need to speak out against the white racism against people of color – racism that deeply infects the whole political, economic, law enforcement and criminal justice system in America. For racism and the injustice in the criminal justice system does not excuse the black thugs and gangsters or the rappers who promote and try to glorify their attitude and culture, nor does it excuse “dumbing down” our youth and glorifying bad and incorrect language, arrogance and brashness.
We should be against censorship and be for free speech and free expression of truth, especially when it is positive, inspiring, original and creative. However, we should not distort the principle of free speech to condone harmful or degrading or crude and boorish words and images. And if we put our heads together, we can surely come up with some reasonable and rational solutions to this growing problem.
We should be against censorship and be for free speech and free expression of truth, especially when it is positive, inspiring, original and creative. However, we should not distort the principle of free speech to condone dangerous and harmful words and images. And if we put our heads together, we can surely come up with some reasonable and rational solutions to this problem.
The Need For Crime Prevention and Intervention Programs
We must do everything possible to help our youth avoid temptations and pitfalls, and there are proven ways to do that. There are human services prevention and intervention programs that successfully steer at-risk youth in the right direction, and away from gangs, drugs and other harmful things. Unfortunately, those programs are grossly underfunded, and many have been cut, even though they've been proven effective and successful and it's been shown that for every dollar invested in prevention and intervention programs, four dollars are saved on law enforcement and criminal justice costs.
We absolutely must invest sufficiently in such programs, because all of our kids are being pulled in the wrong direction by many bad influences. We can turn that around, but we must be willing to invest appropriately in programs that will do so, and we must stop being misled by self-serving, dishonest right-wing conservative politicians who merely serve the interests of the wealthy few who don't want to pay their fair share of taxes.
We must encourage more black leaders to teach young people the way of Martin Luther King Jr., who was an exceptionally good man who followed the core universal spiritual teachings of the Christ Jesus about love, peace, forgiveness, and non-violent pacifism. King spoke out to tell the truth about the offense and impact of prejudice and racism, but he did so peacefully, and he was not hateful or violent.
Conversely, the wrong and worst way to protest is to express hate and use violence, because that plays right into the hands of the right-wing oppressors who tend to use force and violence to suppress dissent and protest.
Now granted, even the worst rappers are certainly not the worst examples on society at large, because hypocritical, self-serving political and religious leaders are the cause of far wider and worse trouble, and they are the most harmful examples. However, there are other bad examples that are more subtle, and while they do not cultivate bigotry or incite aggression, offensiveness or violence, they are almost as bad. They corrupt our youth in other ways.
As you know, many of our children and youth freely admit their greatest ambition is to be wealthy, to gain fame and fortune. That’s largely because of the self-centered, egocentric spirit of Narcissism that began to really grow out of hand in the early 1980s. Narcissism is a path of self-importance and self-glorification, which can seem great but is really a path of self-delusion and self-destruction.
It was spread, of course, by the magazine and television entertainment and gossip industry which focuses on and glamorizes wealthy and famous celebrities. They are obsessed with appearance, and with being rich and famous, and rather than simply admiring the people who entertain and educate us, the tendency is to idolize them. The impact of that has gotten so bad that many of our young people tend to live vicariously and can only hope and wish they will someday grab the "brass ring" and become rich and famous. They've been corrupted by those who worship material and worldly wealth, and they've lost sight of what is truly valuable in this world.
It’s plain old corruption. It’s about misguided and misplaced desires, especially the desire to rise above others in the amount of money you have, and to have far more than you need. That desire has always been around, but it’s become epidemic and paramount in the last three decades.
Now finally, while all this shows why it is no wonder our children and youth are following bad examples, we should not be disheartened. We need to realize that there is far more good in the nation and in the world than bad, and there are far more good people than bad. And we can and will change things, and make things better. We should always keep that in mind.