Monday, May 6, 2013

President Obama Warns Students To Reject Voices Regarding Government Tyranny The Day After Kent State Massacre Anniversary

On May 5th, 2013, the day after the 43rd anniversary of the Kent State, Ohio Massacre, President Obama, speaking at Ohio State University, warned graduating students to "reject" voices that exclaim tyranny in government is "just around the corner". I'll be happy to wait a moment as you read that again. As there is no coincidence in politics, Obama's address against the "voices" and when and where it was given in Ohio is more than a bit significant.

(Before the shooting with tear gas in the air - photographer unknown - added under fair use)
Here is the top representative of our government telling us not fear the government. "Unfortunately, you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems", the President said with a straight face. For this statement is, without the pejorative "unfortunately", quite correct. But, then the President spins this away from rightful questioning of tyranny in government by saying that, "(Y)ou should reject these voices", because, "they suggest", our, "unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can't be trusted". No, these "voices" are more concerned with rescuing our unique experiment from the clutches of the military/industrial complex, or corporation-as-people, that control it now.

How very fitting that the President gave this warning in a state that saw the ugly result of government tyranny in death, blood and gore. A state from which petitions to Obama's own Justice Department rejected not voices, but any reopening of the Kent Sate shooting case. Kent State, where on May 4th, 1970, National Guard Troops killed 4 students and injured 9 more in a barrage of gunfire that when reading contemporaneous reports echo many of today's start and stop reporting of major events. But when you read the New York Times article on the massacre (none of the students were armed) you read good ol' fashioned journalism as the article reports "official" versions of events that were augmented by the reporter stating what he saw which, not surprisingly, contradicted official reports.


(National Guard Troops fire upon unarmed civilians at Kent State - photo by John A. Darnell -  added under fair use)
Also, like Obama in excusing his drone strikes that kill civilians, the President at the time, Richard Nixon, in his official statement about the Kent State Massacre, played the blame the victim card. "This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy". Even 43 years ago, the usual machinations were in place. There were early reports that the Guard Troops fired after sniper fire, which was totally contradicted by not only witnesses at the scene but also by that pesky reporter. "This reporter, who was with the group of students, did not see any indication of sniper fire". Yep, the more things change the more they remain the same. The protest was not as overtly violent as Nixon suggested. The protesters were throwing rocks at the troops and their tear gas canisters back at the troops. Yep, that is pretty violent when facing down armed troops. However, in the context of the times, with college campus protests almost the norm, we today forget that there was a tacit understanding that most of the time the troop's guns were loaded with blanks. Yes, I know, crazy! Apparently, kids from 1970 were just as naive about what they faced as are the kids from today who blithely sat through President Obama's warning to not listen to the voices of dissent.

1 comment:

Brandon Jones said...

Well said Rod, and great comparison.