By Lindianne Sarno
Hearing of the teen drinking party where no one moved to help the unconscious young man, but did video his brutal rape, I was reminded of an event four decades ago in New York. Much soul-searching was occasioned by the murder of a young woman outside her apartment building. Neighbors watched and listened to her scream for help, but no one came to her rescue or called the police.
In the aftermath, New York’s young people organized the popular Guardian Angels. Young people of Homer, why not organize, on ethical and constitutional principles, to protect and promote life?
Beyond finger-pointing and crying shame, Homer can learn from this drunken rape and recent teen suicides. Homer’s tragedy is one small abscess in the cultural sickness rampant in America today.
Let us be grateful to the young souls at the teen drinking party for dramatizing America’s soul sickness. Let us have the wits to understand the drama these young people created, heed their message and search our own souls.
Rape, brutality and the absence of compassion are defining symptoms of soul sickness. America’s soul sickness stems from decades of continual war and empire. America never voted on corporate empire, but America has one — or it has us. War and empire drain the people’s resources, kill and maim young people and blunt our national morals. America is numb to brutality.
We parents and educators teach consideration and compassion to our children. Then, our media-saturated youth are trained as mass murderers by video games. Then they observe U.S. military might murder civilians, turn cities to ruins, blow up families, torture prisoners, ignore the Constitution: “Bullies R Us.”
Which lesson has taken root in our youth, compassion or force? Our young people show us the war in their lives.
While presidential candidates babble platitudes, high school students and young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan commit suicide in record numbers. American children are epidemically raped. Three million Americans are imprisoned, often unconstitutionally. Tens of millions do short prison stays in a stupid, brutal system.
America’s justice system is now two-tiered: the rich get mercy, the poor go to prison and face strip-search, rape, dreadful food and lethal medical practices. Football youth routinely suffer brain injuries, while enlisted youth come home maimed. America is unemployed. Entire rural counties are bankrupt. America’s war on drugs is a war on families, with millions imprisoned for minor cannabis offenses, while white-powder based organized crime expands unchecked. Genetically modified foods cause obesity and death.
Government agents engage in torture, eavesdropping, lying, sneaking, spying, bullying, voyeurism, intimidating, disrespect and theft. I would not tolerate such juvenile behavior for one second in my music studio, yet these practices are institutionalized in government. Meanwhile, mainstream media fear to question war, empire, corporate-government corruption or genetically modified foods. No wonder America’s young people are fat, confused, losing hope, killing themselves and acting out brutal dramas.
America has reached a crossroads. Homer has reached a crossroads. Journalist Robert Koehler expresses America’s choice: militarism or compassion. It’s time to speak the truth. The abscess has burst, and we smell the pus of a dire cultural disease; a society without compassion. We ignore America’s soul sickness at the peril of our young people.
Fortunately, Homer has ample resources to create cultural medicine.
1. Air the real issues of the day. Young people resort to dramatizing numbness and bestiality because no one bluntly discusses their real concerns.
2. Foster ethics, compassion and respect. The fourth R is respect. Young people, embark on the thrilling adventure of truth. Develop your courage to speak up and act for life. Create an ethical culture of vibrant, responsible young people’s organizations. Karen Hornaday Park needs a young person’s patrol. Homer, invite teens in to the park, create a fire circle. Elders, guide them to care for land and people.
3. Sponsor soul workshops to introduce young people to their own souls and to universal compassion, mercy and forgiveness. A free soul workshop happens Nov. 17 from 3-6 p.m. at Homer Senior Citizens. For information, call (907) 230-6960.
4. Enlist Mother Nature to educate young people. Al Poindexter gave Homer a 10-year program to train and educate Alaska’s young families in natural resource management and home based agriculture. (E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for Al’s program.) Youth, outdoors on land and at sea, Mother Nature offers you muscles and pride as your hands create jobs, economy and hope.
Lindianne Sarno is a musician, composer, educator, contemporary historian and farmer. She chairs the Homer Economic Development Advisory Commission.
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