Oklahoma City: First Salvo In Culture Wars?

by Martin Schecter
(c) 1995

Sure, that's the crass title of some yellow tabloid, but why not stoop to their level just for a moment? After all, there's probably something to be said for oversimplification. After 100 days of the Contract With America, we come to realize the left's prepositional substitution of Ron isn't so poorly metaphorical after all.

Besides, the high-moralist Clinton's implying the connection himself, and Rush Limbaugh of course, he's so vain, he thinks this song is about him. But seriously, doesn't the terrorist act seem like maybe the logical second shoe finally falling after all the campaign and convention and David-Duke and internet survivalist talk of the last couple of years? After all the characterizations of governmental Second Reich and moral decay needing rectifying and anti-PC and the God-given constitutional right to verbal assault with a handgun waving in the air. After all, how long could hate mongering go on without some real violence happening? How long can talk of "them" and "them" and "them" go on before some people actually began to get killed?

The great thing is that it happened so spectacularly. Couldn't have thought of a better way to escalate (and move on through) the cloud of white-male-lower-class-heterosexual angst that's been so cleverly manipulated by exploitative moralists masking as "conservatives" in the last few years. Well, I don't mean to sound so crass. Yes yes yes...it's a senseless tragedy and all that. Lived in the heartland myself, once. Stunning pictures of carnage and sorrow; really takes the breath right out of you. But isn't it clever? You're a survivalist, right-wing, anti-government ex-marine dirtbag with a beef against the world and even with all your paramilitary expertise you know that your life will never even approximate one pixel of the bright shiny packages of international capitalist electrons zipping everywhere over the zoosphere in cleverly designed sexy Am-Ex commercials of lust and water and sun sparkling off the illusory thighs of happiness that you'll never be able to really penetrate with the authority of those missiles we once rained perfectly on the desert and everything seems to be inexorably slipping from your grasp and so who do you blame? Who do you bomb? On whom do you rain down your last statement of control? Some Blacks? Jews? Fags? New Yorkers? Writers? Liberals? No: some God fearing Oklahoma citizens and 30 of their nursery-school-age children. Sure. That'll really get the American public on your side.

Makes about as much sense as Newt Gingrich's economic program. Why not gut the recovery, cut middle-class programs, halt infrastructure and educational investment and toss money out of the coffers just when international money forces are screaming for a balanced budget? But then, sense was never the neo-"conservative's" strong point. Like: having an economic program that is anything but "conservative"...anything but a way of trimming government expenditures and living within means and bolstering economic opportunity for all. Rather, "conservativism" is really a way of furthering the exploitation of the middle-class-white-male (and female) workforce at the hands of a few superrich barons, only making them want it (on your knees and beg!) in the name of "tax cuts"...just like bombing a few kids in a nursery in the name of anti-government retaliation. The strange logic of schizo paranoia.

If it's a culture war, the war's pretty one-sided. Just like most terrorist actions: the right-wing is telling us that we ignore their horrible world at our peril. The left did the same thing 30 years ago. Only now, the left has become the mainstream as the mainstream has become irrationally conservative. Another lack of description that defies common sense. It's as if we have no politics anymore: we just have an exhortation to homilies and a culture of disrespect. We've lost the poetry of our thought, the culture of our culture. That's really what the war is all about: impoverishment and barbarism. Whether one looks to the left or to the right to remedy it, all one sees is desolation.

And sure, there's no real connection between the two, dumb bombs in Oklahoma and right-wing rhetoric over the social sphere. Whoever says so is just exploiting the issue. Such connections are expedient, at best, and slanderous, perhaps, at worst. After all, disconnection is every American's God-given constitutional right.



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