After Baltimore: Soul Searching in Another America

Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:

By Richard Eskow


You won’t see structural violence on the television news, because it isn’t the stuff of headlines. Johan Galtung, the Norwegian sociologist and mathematician who invented the field of conflict resolution, explained why in a 1969 paper:

“Personal violence represents change and dynamism – not only ripples on waves, but waves on otherwise tranquil waters. Structural violence is silent, it does not show – it is essentially static, it is the tranquil waters.”

When he spoke of Baltimore the other day, President Obama predicted that “we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets. And everybody will feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.”

He is almost certainly right. But the president did not offer a clear vision for ending the structural failures that have generated this cycle of conflict. That vision is urgently needed. The time for soul searching is now.

The curfew has been lifted in Baltimore. But the poverty remains, and so does the death and injury it brings. The waters are tranquil tonight. But across the many Americas, our common future is hidden in shadows.

NBC/WSJ Poll: Americans disapprove of Obama, Tea Party, Republicans, and Democrats

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this month clearly supports the assertion that the American public is increasingly disapproving of its political leaders regardless of their partisan affiliation.  This is a disturbing trend because a continuing rise in institutional distrust will eventually lead to social unrest, and at some point, internal dissent would destabilize the nation.

Yet, America’s political, business, and media establishment seems determined to maintain the status quo.

Here are the highlights from NBC News:

  • President Obama’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 41-45 (-4%).
  • Democratic Party favorable/unfavorable rating is 38-40 (-2%).
  • Republican Party favorable/unfavorable rating is 29-45 (-16%).
  • Tea Party favorable/unfavorable rating is 22-41 (-19%).

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Only 32 percent of voters say their member of Congress deserves to be re-elected, compared with 57 percent who want to give a new person a chance.

And just 25 percent of Americans…

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