The Crusader Newspaper Group

There is a mean streak across America today

Most of the top movies today have turned wanton violence into an everyday occurrence. The body count in many scripts is incalculable and unapologetic.

Television shows aren’t much better. While the amount of carnage can’t be as great, the acts of violence are just as intense and gratuitous. Even when the heroes prevail, the price is too high.

Often the heroes aren’t clearly distinguished from the bad guys. And their principles are often compromised; their motives are frequently suspect. So we settle for the lesser of evils.

Some would simply attribute these screen portrayals to writers and producers and actors vying to achieve authenticity. That is based on the premise that on and off the screen, all of us are flawed.

There is a measure of legitimacy to the argument that characters are more believable when their weaknesses are exposed. But movies and television take it too far. There are still genuinely good people who just want to do right.

If and when they fall short, their failings should not be a source of ridicule, degradation or cynical dismissal as the inevitable. We have to applaud effort, praise intent and commit to distinguishing flaws from plain old meanness.

When the governor of California arrests 20 REGISTERED former inmates for voter fraud, threatening them with large fines and five years in prison, that’s meanness. That same governor wants to criminalize teachers for teaching history.

Republicans are being mean when they oppose legislation to reduce inflation, decrease gas and prescription costs, help veterans, enhance health care and infrastructure, and make unprecedented strides toward climate control.

The meanness spreads from the federal to the state and local levels. Systemic racism continues to widen the chasm. White nationalism and domestic terrorism are constant threats. And mean-spirited gunmen ruthlessly slay the innocent in cities across the nation.

Mean corporate thugs trample over the “have nots” as they enjoy the best protection lobbyist money can buy as the school and penal systems walk in a mean, uncaring mutuality of apathy for our children.

There is an indisputable mean streak from Main Street to Wall Street in America, and it threatens to ravage our country. But facing reality and embracing hope are NOT mutually exclusive. We can do something about it. As a matter of fact, we must.

Fighting back won’t be easy but it is the only alternative. Next week in this column, I will outline what we can do to offset—if not eradicate—mounting meanness, so pervasive from coast to coast. See what can be done to stem this negative tide!


Vernon A. Williams JuneteenthCIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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