During the 60 years I worked, I came to realize that the tone of an organization was almost always the reflection of the values and behaviors of that organization’s administration.
The same can be said regarding the manner in which a country operates. It is the president and those in his/her administration on down through “our” elected representatives that set the tone for what we value and how we treat and care for one-another.
Unfortunately, the people who make decisions about our lives, here in the US, as well as their rich and powerful clientele, are agents of capitalism, a hierarchal system that honors and respects capital above all else. Therefore, those who invest money and accumulate wealth have a much higher status and gather much greater rewards than those who invest their labor.
The myth of individualism and individuals’ success (measured in the accumulation of wealth) permeates the society and results in the denunciation of those who do not experience that “success.” The reality . . . no one individual realized financial success without relying on public support for that success.
For capitalism to work, there must be continuous expansion of markets and access to resources. National borders and sovereignty do not provide any restraint for the true capitalist, the world is their playground (imperialism). The US has accepted its role as the dominant force among nations and to fulfill this role it has established the most powerful military in human history, a military that has been complicit in the deaths of over 20 million people as well as the displacement of many more millions since WW2.
This nation, the USA, was founded on and benefitted from the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans. In other words, its foundation is based on the perpetuation of violence against others and the establishment of white supremacy.
These actions were all justifiable within the framework of capitalism where an individual’s accumulation of wealth, by any means necessary, is sacrosanct.
As Glen Ford eloquently states, “The US was born as the world’s first fully bourgeois republic, a transactional arrangement among rapacious white men who, in about a century, parlayed the stolen land of one continent, and the stolen people of another, into the world’s largest economy. The U.S. perfected and became the model of a racially regulated society, elevating “whiteness” to permanent social advantage while, at the same time, providing these denationalized Europeans with no identify beyond their relative privileges, and no social contract other than the right to abuse blacks and other “inferior races.”
Today, in the 21st century, the US has expanded its values and way of life beyond its borders and gone international, bringing death and destruction to countries around the globe while it implements its program of world domination (read Project for a New American Century . . . PNAC). Please note that the countries attacked and bombed by the US are populated by non-white residents. Is this merely coincidental? As my dentist said years ago, “Why is our oil under their sand?”
Not only does the US attack and bomb other countries who pose no threat to our national security, it is the leading supplier of weapons to other countries. (See US sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia being used to destroy Yemen and to Israel to implement its program of genocide against the Palestinians).
Domestically, the leadership of the US has taken steps to militarize its police forces around the country and to neutralize the right of people to dissent. This, while there continues almost daily shootings and killings of unarmed people, mainly African-Americans, by police.
With this as the backdrop, we must ask ourselves why are there so many mass killings here in the US, the home of “freedom” and “democracy”?
Is it the tone set by our leaders and the ruling class of constant and continuous violence, death, and destruction around the globe?
Is it because the working class is rendered impotent and must accept being exploited by the ruling class?
Is it because working people have no representation in government?
Is it because the safety net for those in need is not available or is inadequate?
Is it because the leadership of this country demonstrates a disregard for humanity? (See Puerto Rico and New Orleans as well as the countries of the Middle East).
Is it because the emphasis on individualism has robbed us of any sense of community?
Is it because we have allowed ourselves to be divided by class, race,, or religion?
We live in a violent, destructive society that places profit above human need. Here in the US, lives are expendable and we, the people, are pawns to be used and exploited by the capitalist class in their desire for profits.
As long as we continue to accept the capitalist ethos, we, and the rest of the world, will continue to suffer at the hands of the wealthy and powerful.
Capitalism works, but only for the top 10%. For the rest of us, it has failed and has resulted in continuous wars and competition. Our focus must be on international cooperation, the salvation of the environment, and the sharing of the limited resources available to us.
The choice is a fairly easy one between socialism and barbarism. Do we turn to socialism, a system where the use and distribution of resources is centrally planned without a profit motive? Or do we continue our journey to extinction by maintaining a capitalist structure with its waste of resources, its poisoning of the environment, and its inequitable distribution of wealth and resources. You must choose now, it’s getting late!
If the leadership of this country, the decision makers, do not honor life and continue to use violence to dominate others, then the people of this country will incorporate and continue a life of violence.
To the leadership of the US, the killing of innocent civilians is nothing more than collateral damage. We are inundated through the movies we see and the video games we play with crime , killing, and a disrespect for human life.
Is there any reason to be surprised by the large number of mass killings in our society?
Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.