Diary of a news junkie
Being homebound with the flu for almost two weeks gave me plenty of opportunity to read, digest, analyze, and be ashamed of our country, these very Un-united States, and somewhere else as well.
Congress is a real woe is me. Most of these so-called representatives, notably the Republicans — but the Dems are far from perfect too — are on hunts for power and influence. The details be damned! It is embarrassing that ignorant no-class folks like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Goetz and Lauren Boebert and Kevin McCarthy actually are elected to govern. Along with a slew of other evil incompetents, they bring disgrace to us all. Who could actually cast a vote for any of them? And reigning low, below the fray, there’s the esteemed whatever-his-name-of-the-day, Representative George Santos, who is touted, endorsed, and sworn to by none other than the would-be president, mark my words and be afraid, Elise Stefanik.
Does anyone even remember going to school and studying illustrious U.S. history? We learned all about our government, Constitution, and elections. We even learned that when an election was over, the incumbent president would leave the White House, politely, like a true gentleman or gentlewoman, with the traditional welcome note for the new prez in the desk drawer. Does anyone remember when it was patriotic to sing “I’m Proud to Be an American.”?
I’m sorry I wasted so much time honing for the history exams. I would have been better served with something more practical, more honest, and less transient, something like computer technology or TV repair or even sewing.
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And since I’m bemoaning my country, I acknowledge that my other country has manifold problems too. While our cherished grandson wears the uniform of the IDF as a paratrooper, I can only pray that wise judgment, and his very precious and noble life, are valued commodities not only to us, his family, but to all the right-wingers who have ascended to positions of authority. Fervently I pray that the tens of thousands of demonstrators who chant and challenge the new government in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Herzliya, and large and small towns throughout the Land will win their battle for peace, humility, kindness, decency, and a return to civility. I hope that’s not asking too much.
May their voices be heard. The quest for shalom must continue. The outrageous cast of characters presently leading the government must be sent back to their indictments and prison cells.
And then, in the great state of Tennessee, which joined the United States in 1796 and is the proud birthplace of Mountain Dew and cotton candy, and is now widely regaled mainly for the inhumane murder of Tyre Nichols, we have a media event of massive, possibly unprecedented, proportions. Being home sick with the TV on day and night provided me with a copious harvest of images of a torturous event as it was rolled out to viewers. You might have thought that this programming was in a league like the Super Bowl, lining up advertisers and making sure that everyone could watch, in abject horror, the unwarranted murder of an innocent young Black man by those honorably employed to serve and protect, the uniformed police officers of the City of Memphis.
It was not necessary for the tapes of the actual murder to be shared with the world in prime time. They had the footage much earlier in the day, but they, whomever they may be, chose to broadcast in the evening, to capture the most viewers. Clearly they waited for the maximum audience.
Before the videos were shown publicly, that same “they” titillated us with constant reminders that this program would be difficult to watch, that it was for mature audiences, that viewer discretion would be required. They pulled every stop to make sure the debut would be a success. Lest you miss a kick or spray or pounding on the head, lest you miss the victim’s frantic calls for his mother, there were reporters narrating to make certain that you got your money’s worth. It was as if they were narrating a boxing match. Another blow to the head! Another scream for Mom! But the boxers come out alive, mostly, and with lots of money for their pain. They go into the ring willing to pay the price.
Tyre was not a boxer. There were no gladiators there. Only sheer unadulterated police brutality.
Since that day when I first witnessed the obscene murder, of course I cannot get it out of my mind. But I cannot fathom why the promotion was such a media event. I did not need to see it to believe it. There is something wrong when I need to see George Floyd suffocating over and over and over. There is something wrong when I need to see Tyre suffering.
Dear producers and directors and all those who make decisions for what’s newsworthy and what’s not, please tell me the tales of where our country is going wrong, of which members of our government are dishonorable brokers, or which police departments are betraying our trust and the trust of their own constituents. Please do not yield to the bloodthirsty members of your audience, to those who need to repeatedly see the brutality for themselves. If you do this for financial gain, it is as if you yourselves are the perpetrators.
May our world, this world which we groom for our descendants, become a better place, a kinder place, a place of tzedek and shalom.
Rosanne Skopp of West Orange is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She is a lifelong blogger, writing blogs before anyone knew what a blog was!