A Shortage of Mercy
As the economy twists downward for most of us -- as the politics of money tightens like a noose around everything we love -- I think about the disintegration of human values, which insane logic and the Republicans tells us we can no longer afford.
A few days ago,
Last year, for instance, I wrote about a 27-year-old man who suffered a seizure in his jail cell in
This is an emblematic story. My guess is that it resonates with most of us simply because we sense the world getting more and more impersonal. The human connection is short-circuited everywhere.
"How is it," I asked, "that money has decreed an abundance of plastic trash in the world, an abundance of handguns and drone technology and junk food, but a shortage of ambulances for dying prisoners, a shortage of mercy?"
Buchheit, writing about various ways that the privatization process commodifies life itself, talks about "children as products" in the school system. As school personnel, under intense political and economic pressure, focus ever more single-mindedly on increasing their students' test smarts, even at the earliest grade levels, the kids' actual personalities become more and more of a nuisance to the achievement of this politically mandated agenda. Keeping order then becomes a linear, cut-and-dried process. Police or "school resource officers" patrol the hallways, attempting to keep the educational assembly line running smoothly.
Buchheit gives several recent examples of punishment overkill in U.S. schools. In January, according to
And The Guardian last year wrote of a 12-year-old girl at a middle school in
The article notes that, in 2010, nearly 300,000 misdemeanor tickets were issued to
Certainly there is a legacy of dehumanization of various categories of people in
There are no simple solutions to this, only deep solutions. As Korten writes on his website: "Most discussions of issues relating to the environment, justice, peace, poverty, race, gender, immigration, crime, values, education, family, and much else focus on actions to alleviate downstream consequences of upstream system failures."
The failure upstream is an economic system that exploits life rather than serves it. While no one can game life itself, those who have sufficient smarts and sufficient indifference to the consequences of what they do can game the economic system. But it's the system itself -- the coldness at the moment of transaction, the social disconnect that money creates -- which divides the human race into us and them and bequeaths power in wild disproportion, that is the ultimate problem.
And it's our unquestioned acceptance of it that gives the system the power to eat us alive.
Read the latest political news.
- Usual Suspects Using Terror Attacks to Bludgeon Immigration Reform
- Deportation: The D-word
- The Case Against Cutting Social Security and Medicare
- Useless Baggage
- Flying Over an Act of Monumental Stupidity
- Drone World
- Where Our Democracy Works and Where It Doesn't
- America's Just Not That into Obama
- 2017: After Obama
- Beware Public Opinion
- Why Do Liberals Fear Success?
- The Stealth Sequester
- 'Right wing' Does Not Equal 'Terrorist'
- Dubya's Library Opens Debate About Presidential Record
- Obama Eye-Candy Comment Leaves Sour Aftertaste
- Where Obama Should Listen to Rand Paul: Legal Pot
- Rand Paul Gets Schooled at Howard University
- Rand Paul has Explaining to Do
- Conversation Starters Paisley, Paul are Taking Their Lumps
- An Odd Push to Privatize Marriage
- Fear of Gay Marriage Backlash Overblown
- Can GOP Reverse the Damage Done by Iraq?
- Hagel's Challenge
- Wasn't Sandy Hook Enough?
- Gun Vote Reveals New GOP Divide
- Marco Rubio Comes Up Short on Gun Control
- Obama's Limited War on Guns
- School is a Battlefield, and NRA Determined to Keep it that Way
- Gun Laws and Human Nature
- Grief Without Borders
- Immigration: Of Athens and Jerusalem
- Chasing Infinity
- Why the Boston Bombers Succeeded
- Pollution in the News Stream
- Banking on the Poor
- Austerity Leaves Us Crying '96 Tears'
- A Shortage of Mercy
- The Separation of Profit and State
- The Morality Brigade
- What Would RFK Do?
- On Partisan Echo Chambers
- Campaign Finance Reform Brings About Strategic Shifts
- Big Sugar's Subsidy -- How Sweet It Is
- Dr. Ben Carson, New Right-Wing Hero
- One of These Things is Not Like the Other
- GOP Assault on Workers' Rights Continues
- One More Bush?
- Gun Control's Timid Advocates
- Gun Lobby Defends Their Cynical Business Model
- Right Decision, Wrong Reason
- Obamacare: Unhappy Anniversary
- Fighting the Last Political War
- RNC Power Grab
- The GOP Goes Under the Knife
- GOP Reboot: A 'Grand Open Party?'
- The Demise of Moderate Republicanism
- GOP Needs to Make Up its Mind on Immigration Reform
- Fusion Power on the Right
- Greatest Generation the Most Entitled
- Michael Bloomberg: Freedom to Make Stupid Decisions
- Chuck Hagel Survives
- American Recessional
- On Talking Things Out
- Rand Paul's Stunt Misses the Point
- What Rand Paul Got Right
- Flight of Fancy
- The Downside of Conservative Orthodoxy
- CPAC Unwise to Snub Chris Christie
- It's 'I Told You So' on Obamacare
- Mitt Romney's Surprising Post-Mortem
- Do We Need to Maintain A Dole For Former Presidents?
- Extortionist in Chief
- The Sound of Inevitability
- Bringing California Back
- The California 'Mordida'
- GOP Governors Still Know a Good Deal When They See One
- Governor Scott to Voters: Never Mind
- Another Scandal in Tallahassee? You Bet!
- This Florida Citizen Outraged by Citizens Insurance
- Visions: America after Hegemony
- High Court Ponders: Is Racism Over?
- A Ruling on Racial Progress
- Detroit's Decline
- Death and Life in Maryland
- Signs that the NRA is Losing
- Gilded Class Warriors
- 'Assassination Memo' a First Step in Setting New Warfare Parameters
- The Double Threats
- Rush to the Defense? Not So Fast
- Why Annihilate the GOP?
- A New GOP, or Just A Cosmetic Touchup?
- Government Spending That Isn't Smart
- Obama's Second Coming
- Operation Hubris
- Can the GOP Escape Its Bubble
A Shortage of Mercy | Politics
(c) 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc