Modern Secessionists & M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village

There is a rather disconcerting movement taking hold in the red state South. The parts of the country that went 60% for Romney. There is a series of petitions to allow certain states to secede from the Union. While the knee jerk reaction is – Yay! Let Texas and Missouri be their own states. The US would move up 2 or 3 spots in education.
Here are the problems – the first is the same that faced President Lincoln, which is-a hostile nation is a bad neighbor. Just like the desire to expand the number of slave states was the Confederacy’s reason for seceding, modern secessionists want to expand their religious views to the level of law. Modern American “Christian” sharia.
The second problem is new. The internets have allowed people all over the world to meet others from different cultures with different ideas. It has also allowed any idiot with a whack-a-doodle idea to find like minded people. They are then allowed to isolate themselves, intellectually, and are thus convinced that not only are they “right” but that they are the majority. Any dissent is “propaganda” from the enemy rather than a possibly valid alternative point of view.
Now, what does this have to do with M. Night Shyamalan’s 3rd best film (after Unbreakable & The Sixth Sense)? In The Village, a group of Americans turn their backs on modern life. Through flashbacks, we learn that each “founding family” of the village had suffered some tragedy of modern city living. Their response was to retreat into antiquated lifestyles and invent monsters to dissuade the young from questioning authority. THERE WAS NO TWIST! Sometimes M. Night just wants to make you think.
Much of the Tea Party seem to be like the villagers. While they have only retreated to the 1950s, they are still woefully out of touch with modern thought (though they seem to take to the Web). Even when polls show that particular groups might agree with their ideas, the paternalistic, condescending way they are presented is insulting. Obama has become the “monster” that will take their guns, their jobs and their fetuses.
As we get into the second term and the end times do not come, hopefully, rational thought will prevail. As Americans, we need to find a way to come together. A second civil war will not benefit anyone. Only together can we defeat extremists (as W said).

April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012 was an interesting day in American justice.  A single issue in American culture was very publicly spotlighted by bookend type cases.

Charles Manson was denied parole for the 12th time.  Like many 20 somethings of the 1990s, I had a keen interest in the failed policies of the 1960s and Charles Manson was the poster child.  A buddy of mine even had Manson’s album (“Garbage dump, my garbage dump…”).  Existing as a cult of personality masquerading as an agent of populist cultural change.  In interviews archived from the times of the Tate murders and in jail house interviews from intervening years, Manson seemed slightly disinterested in the whole idea of a race war which was purportedly his reason for orchestrating the murders.  He always seemed less interested in the content of what he was saying than the circus that would surround him saying it.  Today he would be the ultimate media whore.  Those young women in his “family” seemed far more committed to him and his cause than he ever was to them or it.  Whether Manson’s parole was denied because of the ongoing misguided “followers” and threat to America or because he has been a really lousy inmate, is a moot point.  What matters is that one man’s dream of inciting a race war in America failed.

As a bookend to the news of Manson’s denied parole is the arrest of George Zimmerman.  Accused of 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman avoided indictment and arrest for weeks while protests grew and race based shooting occurred in Tulsa, OK.  In an ideal world, Zimmerman would have turned himself in immediately, expressed sincere and public remorse and Martin’s family would have eventually moved on to forgiveness, thereby healing the community and establishing a dialogue for the nation.  Instead, the death of Trayvon Martin has nearly ignited the kind of race war that Manson could never have hoped for.  Now that Zimmerman has been arrested, can there be sensible dialogue?  This is where it gets sticky.  The shooting in Tulsa certainly must cause concern among blacks about racial based violence.  On the other hand, the appearance of the irrelevant old war horses of civil rights, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, certainly do not calm the fears of whites that this matter will result in a new era of understanding and friendship between the races.  The doomsday preppers and the new Black Panthers are not helping either. 

What is needed is open frank dialogue.  Trayvon was a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time.  May his soul reset in peace in the arms of the Lord.  But what we need on earth is to not let his death lead to further violence or a return to the status quo.  Profiling is wrong.  But.  Why are so many whites or even non-whites, afraid of young black males?  Why are there so many communities (like mine in central IL) where blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics work and go to school together, then return home to segregated neighborhoods?  Manson is probably laughing his ass off in his cell.  All these years later, race is still a ticking bomb waiting to explode.

As a child of the 1980s, I was promised many things for my future.  Flying cars.  Colonies on the moon.  A computer in every home.  But mostly, I was promised a color blind society, where every child had a chance to grow up.  Where is it?