Slammed | Enacting an Attitude of Outreach to Combat Violence
Ben Jacobs, a journalist for well-regarded online news site “The Guardian”, was recently “body slammed” by Greg Gianforte, a candidate for congress, for asking a question about healthcare legislation, which could affect over 28 million people. The cut and dry nature of this event was the first piece of news to actually shock me in the current climate. There was no partisan debate to be had because of audio evidence of the event. Eyewitnesses from other news organizations confirmed Jacob’s story that Gianforte did attack the reporter.
Because we live in ‘Blade Runner Future’, occurrences like this barely register on most people’s radar anymore. However, besides watching a technocrat billionaire running for public office physically manifest his frustrations/contempt with the lower classes, what was compelling about this event was how the constituency of Montana reacted. Reports from GOP voters said were thrilled with Gianforte’s attack on the reporter. It bolstered the reasons for his appeal in the first place and gave them catharsis by assaulting someone who represents out of touch elitism.
The worst part about this is that the damage feels done. People who were not savvy enough or had the time to learn how to take in media at the rate that it flows now have no way to learn to swim in this sea of murky information. The 99% of Individuals who are not wealthy in this country who feel disfranchised have been exploited by right wing governance to embrace a worldview of authoritarian traditionalism which usually ends up working against them. By wealthy, I don’t mean, “I own a few car washes and got in on the ground floor of my nephews app” wealthy. I mean “have enough money to buy human organs from vagrants and go to ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ sex parties” wealthy.
Anything I try to communicate to a majority of people who still support right wing governance will not change their minds. This is where fear begins for me because so many things today that are “up for debate” are not actually up for debate, such as climate change or growing income inequality due to wage stagnation since the late 70s. Fear of modernity set in place by exploitive media outlets, economic anxiety from a majority of constitutes who lean right, and no clear backbone showing from political institutions who are supposed to represent the working class have created an environment where the left and right are just throwing rocks at each other. Our modern political climate has devolved into Verdun.
The only way I see out of this hellworld we have created is through human connection. Actually using free time to become a community organizer and explain to those under the spell of the GOP’s “you can be a millionaire too we swear” message. Reach out to those have reactionary thinking and hear them out. These reasons are usually based in economic anxiety and fear of change. These are human traits and once you can break this barrier and explain ways through collective bargaining, we can affect true change that benefits everyone and not just a ruling class that puts on cowboy hats and accents to gain votes.
Jordan Smith is a contributor to TIP with a history writing OP-eds at University. For feedback or questions, please email 'info [at] theindependentprogressive.com'.