The Matrix has avidly seized on the bloodshed in Tucson to further restrict political debate, the solemn injunction now to "tone down the rhetoric," the implication being that anything "inflammatory," from the "margins," left or right, is now out of bounds. The call for "civility" in our public discourse is a call for a particular form of adult responsibility that fits within the boundaries of MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal. Even FOX network, or elements of FOX, is dangerously close to violating the new rules of speech, transformed by horrific domestic events into even sharper delineation and tighter restriction, accelerating a process begun with the Patriot Act. We now have a TSA screening of everything we say. Sarah Palin's political career is likely finished. The Matrix, far more dangerous than the idiot from Alaska, reasserts its control.
Shocking as the events in Tucson were, they pale in comparison to the bloody deeds of state routinely carried out under the commands of responsible leaders and scarcely reported in the respectable media. On his third day in office, the Peace Laureate authorized a drone strike in Pakistan that killed twenty or more, including several children, the primary, cowardly purpose of which to establish his bona fides. This was a marginally newsworthy item. Since then his portfolio has only gotten bloodier, as befitting his office. In the world of discourse as defined by the Matrix the blood crimes of our leaders are not of interest. "Such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society," intoned the president, who has overseen a major escalation of violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen during his stewardship. People who shoot down innocents in a public place are nut jobs, while those who order the slaying of thousands are sane and rational. These are oddities a child would notice but less likely than ever to be discussed in the sober and sensible corporate media.
It is rhetoric, not reality, that will come under increasing scrutiny, and this applies to the anti-capitalist left as well as the nativist disaffected right. We must keep our words civil and responsible, within the confines of what the Matrix has sanctioned.