One week ago today, Keith Olbermann recorded his last words as the host of Countdown. The very minute he left frame, the blogosphere and Twitter world caught fire as millions expressed shock, sadness, anger, and for the conservatives of the nation, delight. Conspiracy theories raged across the ether as corporate giant Comcast, whose merger with NBC technically started that day, was assumed to have ordered K.O.’s firing. Supporters quickly drew a line from Olbermann’s axing to Comcast and thence to the Citizen’s United ruling by the Supreme Court one year prior. Boycotts of MSNBC and NBC were planned and indeed demanded.
The blood of 24 Americans was spilled in Tuscon, Arizona on the 8th day of 2011. This terrible tragedy is but the latest and most severe trauma to our democracy in a line of bloody wounds that has steadily drained it of civility. That we have condoned these attacks for so long is a testament to a pair of often contradictory ideas; our shared desire to uphold free expression, and our nation’s dysfunctional embrace of the immoral and unethical in the pursuit of “victory”.
The financial reform law passed this week was not, as has been falsely reported in the mainstream media, the first major restructuring of financial regulations in 70 years. That came during the late 90’s, when we scaled back financial regulation to get the government farther out of banking and finance. The financial collapse was nearly fatal to our economy because of interconnections that were previously banned by “intrusive regulations”. Free markets, do indeed fail.
Real Americans, in my book, are decent folks who treat their neighbors and strangers as they would want to be treated. They care about their country; sometimes they care so much that they say or write things they regret, but they are strong enough to apologize. Real Americans live in every community I have traveled to in this great nation, and I have had the privilege of going from sea to shining sea. If you are having trouble finding the real ones, or if you despair about your nation, just turn off the television. Real Americans are always easier to see without cable news on in the background.