Columnwhoring: More On the Outrage Shortage


You’ll pardon me if I find all this shock and awe, all this clutching of the pearls at what somebody said on the Internet, just a little self-indulgent.

It’s not as though we’re short on reasons for outrage these days.

The Washington Post is running a series of stories about substandard care for returning veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where returning Iraq vets are housed in rat- and roach-infested rooms coated in black mold.

Newsweek is reporting on the difficulties of Iraq vets in securing adequate mental health services once they return to the States. The magazine told the story of vets ending up homeless — homeless, as though we’ve learned nothing from Vietnam — or worse, committing suicide because the help they desperately needed just wasn’t there for them. One soldier’s stepmother described watching her stepson argue with hospital personnel who wanted to put him on a waiting list:

“Marianne was listening in on the conversation from the dining room. She watched Jonathan (Schulze), slumped on the couch, as he talked to the doctor. ‘I heard him say the same thing: I’m suicidal, I feel lost, I feel hopelessness,’ she says. Four days later, Schulze got drunk, wrapped an electrical cord around a basement beam in his home and hanged himself. A friend he telephoned while tying the noose called the police, but by the time officers broke down the door, Schulze was dead.”

The number of Americans living in severe poverty — defined as a family of four living on less than $10,000 per year or an individual living on less than $6,000 — has reached a 32-year high, according to a survey by McClatchy Newspapers. One in three “severely poor” Americans are children, younger than 17.

As residents of the Gulf Coast struggle to rebuild 18 months after Hurricane Katrina, insurance companies are pulling out of the area. They’re saying the risk of future destruction isn’t worth the cost of covering families and businesses there, and their pullouts ensure that businesses will leave, worsening the poverty the storm revealed.

Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff went on trial for lying to investigators about who revealed the name of a covert CIA operative. The trial illuminated an entire campaign to subject national security for political gain, and demonstrated the compliance of the Washington press corps in following the Bush administration’s leads in who to attack, and why.

A court of appeals ruled that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have no right to challenge their detention. If you’re a terrorist, in the eyes of an administration whose Justice Department has yet to secure a significant terrorism conviction, then you have no right to say otherwise. No right to defend yourself. No right to speak at all. They’ve spoken, and you’re done.

It’s not as if we’re short on reasons for outrage. It’s not as if we’re living fat and happy in peace and prosperity and all we have to worry about is that someone on the Internet used a bad word.

But that is, apparently, a whole lot easier to get upset about.

Talk about an obscenity.


4 thoughts on “Columnwhoring: More On the Outrage Shortage

  1. Welcome to repug nation…after a generation of the republican howling beast subverting American ideals, making liberalism, i.e., caring about others, something dirty, something to sneer at, this is now America; not the land of the free or home of the brave, but the land of the oligarchs and theocrats sucking the life-blood from America, destroying individual freedom, destroying the middle class in favor of an ever burgeoning underclass.
    America under republican abuses and a compliant supportive corporate media has become the land of the neocons, the theocons, and old white male club abusing the levers of power to enlarge the number of disadvantaged, while worshipping at the alter of greed, never being sated with merely obscene wealth and power, but like a cult of vampires with hearts of stone sucking America dry, uncaring, unmoved by the suffering they imbue.
    Could they spare a billion or two from the criminally obscene “defense” budget to mitigation the suffering of millions of Americans? Could they spare another billion or two to mitigate suffering world wide. Of course they could, but will they? Of course not. They will instead buy more obscenely gigantic useless cars and trucks, more mansions, more private planes; they will withdraw further and further from humanity into their pristine gilded worlds where they control everyone and everything while the rest of the world can go to hell as far as they are concerned.
    Was America humanity’s last great hope? Of course not. But a generation of republican rule highlighted with the last 7 years of the most heinous, subversive, anti-American administration one could ever imagine has so obliterated what America the great stood for, and the levers of power have become so diseased, that it appears as if America and Americans can no longer be the leader and standard bearer moving humanity forward; improving on America’s founding ideals of the rule of law, free speech, a government subservient to the people. Humanity anxiously awaits for some other, more enlightened, more intelligent, less violent peoples, hoping they arrive before repug nation spreads its chaos and destruction further.

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