It is difficult, in light of the latest mass shooting in the United States, not to sound like one is gloating when one sees the ugliest side of America laid bare for all the world to see. I am not writing this out of some sick sense of schadenfreude. I am writing this out of frustration. Frustration that the American media and political establishment spend so much time and energy wagging their finger at Russia when it’s clear that the state of their own social and political affairs is a tragic sham. Frustration that so many Americans think that Russia is an oppressive dictatorship and are “concerned” about civil and human rights there, whereas they could not give a flying fig about people who live in countries that do have serious issues.
A popular meme going around about Donald Trump is that he is a bad candidate because he’s been endorsed by Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Vladimir Putin. What the what now? I don’t know who I feel sorrier for: the people who think it’s funny, or the people who are dumb enough to believe that living in Russia is anything like living in North Korea. It is not only ignorant and insulting to Russia, but it also denigrates the severity of the oppression in the North Korean state. But when has North Korea been anything but a joke to most Americans? Do they actually care how North Koreans live? And do they actually think that modern-day Russia is akin to North Korea simply because Vladimir Putin once rode a horse sans shirt?
For starters, unlike North Koreans, Russians are free to leave the country at any time and for any reason. They have iTunes, Netflix, internet, Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/VK, and smartphones. American movies play in their movie theaters. Tourists have to acquire a visa, but they are certainly welcome. And yes, Russian citizens are free to speak their mind. The only thing Kim and Putin have in common is that the American media/political elites don’t like them very much, and these days, that’s looking more and more like a compliment.
But it’s just easier for Americans to have an insect residing in their posterior orifices about Russia. There are so many countries where the day-to-day situation is far worse than the life of the average Russian, but the focus is never on those areas, primarily because many of these nations have been the focus of American colonial regime change operations. Hyper-focusing Russia’s flaws is only done so Americans can feel superior. Americans, in particular social liberals, wouldn’t feel so good about themselves if they were informed about the human misery their government has brought to Muslim and LGBT people worldwide.
The commonplace social liberal sentiment is that we, as Americans, need to support both the LGBT and Muslim community. I’m down with that. However, I am not sure that Americans who are professing this realize that that entails defending the civil rights of LGBT and Muslims everywhere. I don’t think Americans realize this, because this stance is being taken by people who say that they support Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who have proven through their interventionist “humanitarian” warmongering, that neither of them care much about the rights of Muslims or LGBT people abroad.
I am not interested in pointing the finger at the Orlando shooter’s religious affiliation, nor his sexual orientation, nor any relationship he may have had with various US-sponsored terrorist organizations. He was an American. Full stop. He was born and raised in America. He went to American schools. He lived in America. If anyone or anything is responsible for twisting his mind, it is the dominant culture in which he lives. See: Dylann Roof. Like a good American, Omar Mateen made his living off the suffering of others. Mateen worked for a company called G4S Security, which, according to Counterpunch, is “a British-based corporation that contracts with the US and Israeli governments for work that often violates human rights on a massive scale.”
So, imagine for a second if a Russian Muslim had opened fire in a gay nightclub in St. Petersburg and killed about 50 people. The American media would have had a field day: gloating, probably empathizing with and apologizing for the shooter, and blaming the tragedy on everything from Vladimir Putin to Vladimir Putin to Vladimir Putin. After all, we know that whenever anything goes wrong in Russia ever, it is of course the fault of Putin, and his government, and Putin, and also Putin.
Yet, the US media establishment is not coming down on Congress for failing to renew the assault weapons ban. Nor Obama, for his weak executive order, signed in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, which was little more than a PR stunt. And did I mention that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, and purported advocate of gun control, has taken campaign contributions from a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association? I am not here to argue for or against guns, but considering the way Americans lose their minds over things like peanuts, it’s pretty obvious that the only reason guns haven’t been taken off shelves is because the manufacturers of same have a powerful and wealthy lobby at their disposal. Countering that, Florida has some of the most generous gun laws in the nation, yet no armed civilian stepped forward to stop the bloodshed. Where is George Zimmerman when we need him?
We have to blame someone, and the media focus for that blame has not focused on legislators, but instead turned to Omar Mateen’s wife, Noor, who may very well be the victim of a government-sponsored media smear campaign.
How was this even allowed to happen in the first place? What happened to our fabulous intelligence apparatus? You know, the one that ignored Russian warnings about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
How ironic that Obama and Hillary Clinton decry violence in our streets, but they are such strong advocates of weapons sales and violence abroad. Daily violence and mass death are good enough for other people in other countries, where the American war machine has wreaked havoc and where mass killings are commonplace. Where Americans slaughter Muslims by the thousands. Where LGBT rights, even after an American takeover, are nowhere to be found.
Although every social liberal I knew was huffing with indignant outrage over the gay propaganda law in Russia, not a single one of my straight “LGBT ally” or LGBT friends have posted anything about the deplorable (and deteriorating) situation of gay rights in Ukraine.
In Lviv this past March, the police, the city council, and even the mayor ignored Ukrainian activists’ requests for help because they expected nationalists to disrupt the Equality Festival. Violence against the Ukrainian LGBT community is an everyday occurrence in the “new” Ukraine. However, I’ve yet to hear Obama, Joe Biden, Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power, Clinton, or any of the usual crew who have had loads to say about LGBT and human rights in Russia, speak out against violence against gays in Ukraine. Homophobic assaults are rampant, and the new “pro-European” government ignores pleas for assistance. The Ukrainian government did pass resolution making it illegal to fire someone for being gay, but that was of course a cynical move in exchange for visa-free travel to the EU. The reality on the ground has not changed since the Maidan. Despite calls from Power to inject LGBT rights into the DNA of American foreign policy, American policies in Ukraine have done exactly nothing to protect LGBT Ukrainians.
Speaking of American intervention, it turns out that the Bush Administration’s pet project, Afghanistan, instead of achieving the stated altruistic goals of civil society, has turned into a nightmare for LGBT Afghans. (Democrats aplenty voted for the initial invasion in 2001. Hillary Clinton voted for escalating the war.)
After the American invasion of Iraq, for which Hillary Clinton voted, violence against LGBT Iraqis escalated. Self-appointed death squads murder gay men, leaving their bodies in the streets as a warning to other men who are open about their sexuality. While Saddam Hussein’s regime certainly did not light up government buildings in rainbows, Hussein did keep Shia extremists in check. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was asked by members of the Senate to help gay Iraqis. When apprised of the situation in Iraq, Clinton wrote that it was “so sad and terrible.” And then apparently went about sitting on her hands.
As it’s apparent that liberal interventionists like Obama and Clinton only care about LGBT rights when it’s convenient or politically expedient, they also only care about the civil rights of Muslims when it suits them.
Social liberals have taken to Facebook, professing their support for Muslims and the LGBT community alike, but it’s evident that either they are not aware of, nor do they much care, about the fact that Obama really likes to send drones into predominantly Muslim countries. It is estimated that Obama’s drone strikes have caused the deaths of at least 3,000 people in countries like Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Lest anyone think that this crusade is about “taking out” terrorists, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in drone strikes have been civilians.
Clinton’s — stop me if you’ve heard this one — “humanitarian intervention” in Libya led to NATO dropping 7,700 bombs on the Libyan populace. Also strongly in favor of the Syrian intervention, Clinton has never balked at the human cost of the military action taken there. Similarly, Clinton is a strong supporter of Israel, which is, as every thinking person knows, an apartheid state which oppresses the Palestinian population — Christian and Muslim alike. Clinton also favors retaining troops in Iraq, a state already torn completely apart by American militarism.
So, riddle me this, Americans: Are you really going to stand up for the rights of Muslims and those in the LGBT community? Or did you only mean the ones currently residing in the United States?
Listening to everyday Americans’ justifications for their military interventions abroad is something else. It’s usually something along the lines of: “Yes, the US has done bad things and has killed a lot of people, and that is unfortunate. But, someone needs to solve the world’s woes. And yes, it is unfortunate that people in Iraq and Afghanistan died in US bombing campaigns, and no we shouldn’t have gone in there, but let’s face it — those people’s lives were never going to be great whether we’d invaded or not.”
Given that, and given that critiques of American foreign policy are met with rejoinders of “You hate America” and pleas to “realize how lucky you are to live here,” really what you’re talking about when you talk about “gun control” in the US is to what extent should the federal government be willing to allow its population of delusional psychopaths to arm itself.
Always quick to judge Russia as Islamophobic and anti-gay, and ever-eager to rush to the defense of these groups, the United States really never takes a hard look at how their countless floundering military projects overseas threaten Muslims and the LGBT community overseas