Bang, bang, he shot me down
Bang, bang, I hit the ground
Bang, bang, that awful sound
Bang, bang, my baby shot me down
I remember Cher belting out this song on television years ago, her stunning svelte figure stirring mysterious pre-pubescent hormones somewhere deep in my psyche. (Something about singers… Grace Slick would later become the subject of my groovy teenage wet dreams.) The song was innocuous tripe, a product of what are now regarded as “more innocent times.” But were they really?
Yes, “peace and love,” and all that shit. But, the 60’s – early 70’s also had more than its share of violent episodes: Vietnam, The Bay of Pigs, the Weather Underground bombings, riots in Watts, France, San Francisco, Greenwich Village, the JFK, RFK, MLK Jr., Medger Evers, Che Guevara, Malcom X (and too many others to name) assassinations, and coups in Greece, Iraq, Libya… there’s a lot more I’m sure I’m forgetting, but you get the picture…
We’re seeing the same behavior today. The world over, everyone is going off in full-cocked-foaming-at-the-mouth-attack-mode. Most simply vocalize their feelings. But increasingly, more and more are turning – or returning, as it were – to violence as a means of expression.
And everyone is playing the blame game: Extremist Muslim ideology, racism, mental illness, too many guns, not enough guns, too many laws, not enough laws, childhood abuse, road rage, work rage, postpartum depression, gluten…
And, for every violent episode, there are just as many labels applied: mass shooting, terrorism, State-building, war, revolution, gangland execution, murder, having a bad day…
…Try explaining to a mother that it matters what you call the reason her 2-year-old is six feet under.
Fact is, nearly everyone is angry. People are tired of the status quo. The majority of people in the world are scraping by, while a select few hoard the wealth. But no one seems to direct any outrage at the 1%. Unlike the turbulent times of my juvenile Cher-glaring, today’s radical gunmen are targeting those indistinguishable from them, regular day-to-day people who wish nothing more than family, health, and food on the table. And this is not by accident.
Hitler managed to blame all his woes on anyone he didn’t like. He filled movie theaters with a combination of national hubris and unnatural hate. His fiery rhetoric swayed a good portion of Germany, and managed to scare those against him into submission.
Those in control today (read: Big Money) copied their homework from old Adolph, and have become quite adept at diverting the attention away from themselves. Filthy rich international corporate greed-heads, via religion and the mass media, have exploited the rank and file among us into blaming each other. …Divide and conquer… Tucked away in closely guarded private compounds, they watch the hysteria on television as if it were entertainment.
No matter what political ideology a country claims, everyone lives under a plutocracy, government of, by, and for the rich. The United States is no different; our elected officials are puppets. Look at them carefully; you can see the corporate arm up their asses, mouths manipulated by the hands of hard cash. Republicans or Democrats, they are all sucking the corporate cock, each party fighting over who gets the tip.
…But somehow, the rest of us get the shaft.
Bono, Harmon, Smith. (Composer). (1966). Bang Bang. [Cher, Performer] NY, NY, USA.