Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why I Am A Progressive

Like almost everyone else online and in the US at the moment, I have been following the situation in Boston, a town about which I know a little, since I used to live down the road, in Providence, Rhode Island.

I would have to be brain-dead not to have a reaction. We are all of us experiencing feelings. Most of them knee-jerk. And there really is no point in holding them in.

The sum total of my immediate reaction is this. No amount of security restriction, digital intelligence, intrusion in our lives, arming of citizenry, shutting down borders, isolationism, bombing or invasion of other countries. In short, no act of schoolyard bullyism, at home, or abroad, could stop what has happened and is happening.

Hate does not halt hate. It merely begets more.

Much will be discussed in the days and weeks to come about new or extended protocols to protect our shores from enemies within and from outside who wish to bring hate to our communities. There is only one protocol that will count. That will make any difference. And that is, stop doing the things that make people hate.

But surely, this episode confirms the need to tighten immigration? How so? What reasonable immigration controls, in place, or sensibly propounded, would have prevented these young boys living in the US?

But surely, this episode confirms the need to tighten gun controls? How so? What reasonable gun control measures, in place, or sensibly propounded, would have prevented these young boys using the weaponry they have been using to devastating effect this past week? Would they have prevented them building and placing the bombs?

Which community in Chechnya do we drone-bomb, to make Boston safer? Which longstanding Muslim community in the US do we evict? What new ID? What new military equipment for our Police?

Leaving aside those who are genuinely mentally-challenged, and whom a caring society would never leave on the streets in the first place (but that is an argument for another time), when we are faced with young men who hate enough to want to kill their fellow men and women, the only question we should be asking, which has any long-term value is, what did we do to make them hate so much, and what can we do to stop them hating?

And that, I guess, is what defines me as a progressive, and not as a Republican.