Curtain Raiser

The Streets of Aleppo & America, Colltalers

As the Charlotte, N.C., police finally released the disturbing videos of Keith Lamont Scott’s killing by a cop, we inch ever so close to an explosive, nationwide boiling point. Lethal racial profiling and tragic police misconduct are just the right matches to lit up this fire.
The issue is likely to dominate today’s first debate of presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It’s understandable if it does but it shouldn’t. Race relations should be definitely approached by the two candidates. But they should mostly clash over something else.
Specifically, what’s happening almost six thousand miles from Washington, DC, in Aleppo, Syria. Given their already expressed opposite views of racism, we’re bound to waste our time hearing empty soundbites about it. Considerably harder is to discuss foreign policy.
For on race, Trump’s malodorous mix of violence incitement, misplaced blame, and self-aggrandizing will likely crush Clinton’s policy proposals, however well thought out they may be, even if half the audience remains awake to hear them. It’s a sure score for the Don.
Not so with Syria and the daunting task of articulating an intelligible plan of action, without mentioning the myriad of factions, sects, tribes, external powers, and naturally Daesh, before being interrupted by a news-challenged moderator. But it’s a land whose queen is Clinton.
In fact, that’s her chance for scoring some informative points – granted, mostly with the already cognizant – when speaking of Middle East and Asian conflicts, as long as she doesn’t engage in pontification, lecturing, or offering what may be perceived as some prefab formula.
It’s hard to picture Trump sustaining even a brief of the situation on the ground up there, even if he resorts to phrases of dubious effect. For several months, there hasn’t been a single instance where he showed knowledge about Syria, and the whole region for that matter, besides declaring that he would bomb the hell out of everybody. As if it’s not already happening. Then again, the bar with him is set very low.
Even her detractors admit that Clinton knows personally most of the world leaders in power today, and some

even from the yesteryear, and for good or worse, this is the least we expect of a leader of our own, when things go south quickly, and someone is ready to engage.
But the time you’re reading this, Aleppo has become hell on earth, and thousands of people are trapped or dead. Syrian, Russian, or whoever warplanes are doing the bombing, under whatever excuse, there seems to be a new determination to massacre every last civilian.
And they will, because to the many parties now involved what’s important is to defend their little truth about the conflict, even if that requires to throw under the tanks scores of innocents who did not choose to be born there, and may not support any of the parties involved.
And they will also because the world doesn’t care. If hundreds manage to escape and engorge the lines of millions of refugees, preparing another terrible global wave of the dispossessed, the angry, the rejected, it won’t be of concern to military contractors, mercenaries, nutcase volunteers, and the too young to realize, that seem to fester and make up the bulk of the combatants in Syria.
Lastly, whatever their rationale, it doesn’t consider the fact that what’s happening is the best recruitment tool for terror organizations. Bring me the famished, the ravenous, the religious zealot, lots of them, and I’ll form the most salvage and cruel revenge army you’ll never defeat.
The complexity of that conflict is one of the reasons that many world leaders chose studied apathy instead of open intervention. And if it’s true that President Obama has refused to allow boots on the ground there, the definition of that very own term is under review. Why, because drones don’t count? hired guns? special forces? even robots, if we had them, would be surrogates to our geopolitical ambitions.
And in any event, their presence wouldn’t exempt anyone from moral responsibility over the escalation of atrocities and gut wrenching hostilities displayed by Bashar al-Assad, in his murderous attempt to hold on to power, his allies and or his many enemies.
But here’s the thing: Clinton can offer a pondered vision about a resolution, not a recipe but a guide that may entice everyone to be part of that solution, with the understanding that anything else is an expensive and obscene humanitarian bill we all will have to foot eventually.
As for Trump, fuhgeddaboudit. That’s why is very likely he’ll divert the debate over to race, and how he, etc etc. After all, it’s the kind of issue worthy screaming at each other about it. That’s something he knows well. And many Americans are indeed already doing just that.
How much longer we’ll endure the absolute lack of discernment and lax oversight displayed by police officers in the line of duty, whenever they approached a black person. Even when, as in the case of Scott, the cop is also black. Or female, like the Tulsa, Okla., officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man. One more. One too many. Their carrying a badge and a gun is actually a risk to the entire force.
But for that, we don’t need another screamer. Or simplistic solutions either. A (mostly private-owned) prison system is already full of black and Latino and poor youth, even as crime went down. The nation is suffused with guns, legal or not, and everyone is already on the edge.
Plus, let’s repeat it again: the media is betraying its constitutional role in this election cycle. Under a patina of ‘fair and balanced,’ (which it’s actually fake equivalence coverage), it’s granting millions of dollars in free advertising to what’s essentially a message of hate.
It must stop calling ‘white anger,’ – as exemplified by K.K.K.-inclusive Trump rallies, and their feast of name calling and blaming galore – as ‘legitimate,’ while (white) talking heads nod in support to those ‘whose country is no longer theirs’ (it never was), and ‘thugs’ whenever black youth rallies in response. It should focus instead on why so many poor and underprivileged are supporting an egomaniac millionaire.
The human tragedy in the streets of Aleppo, and the tragedy of blacks being vilified and killed in the streets of America, will both require the undivided attention of the new president. And so will a number of other important issues not likely to be discussed on tonight’s debate, despite what the benefits that such discussion would represent to the record 100 million-plus voters who are expected to tune in.
But while Trump may instantly connect with his constituency using his customary lout persona, Clinton will have to walk the razor edge between in-depth analysis and counter punch abilities. In the end, it’d be crucial to state her case not to the ‘deplorables’ set, who’ll never ever, and shouldn’t, support her, or defense hawks who sadly already do so, but to the still unaware of what a Trump presidency will be like.
The fallacy of Fascism is to fool you that solutions to complex problems may boil down to two components: how badly you want them solved, and what you’re giving up, so the state can act unobstructed on our behalf. That’s why Il Dulce was so beloved. And wound up hanged upside down. The ‘problem’ with morality is that it makes us change and grow, even as it demands that our soul remains intact.
Or that every careless attempt to reduce it to a soundbite sounds obscure and contrite. The killing of innocents in Aleppo and in America is unacceptable. Let’s hope candidate Clinton proposes the compassion we’re not expecting candidate Trump to propose, as the tool to make it stop. Here’s to the first decade without Maria Eva. Thinking about you, always, and hey, female presidents are still a big deal. WC

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