Are you tired of the calls for "conversations"? Am I the only one who finds this annoying? It seems whenever something troubling happens, a problem that obviously needs fixing and is once again highlighted by a disaster, a politician or a pundit says "We need a national conversation about __." or "I welcome the conversation about ___."
After the murder of children in Newton we needed a "national conversation" about gun laws. After Hurricane Sandy it was time we conversed about global warming. A host of revelations about the massive and unconstitutional security state leads to Obama welcoming a national conversation. And now the freed murderer of a 17 year old boy has led to many calls in the press for a "conversation about race."
What we need is national action. Talk is cheap. What we need is our elected representatives to get out in front of these things and to use effective government to address these problems. Why do we elect them? By their fruit you will know them. The government's job is to prevent these things from happening, and if that isn't working they need to figure out what does. What we need is a press that accurately informs the public, and a press that does not give platforms to racists, gun-nuts, global warming deniers, or officials who have been caught lying about the reach of the NSA (or those who are profiting handsomely from government contracts). A press that explicitly recognizes that one side has no interest in conversation. We would only be too glad to help, but let's not pretend that "conversing" will do a damn thing.
Gun related deaths are nothing new, school shootings are not new, supporters of unfettered gun ownership are not interested in conversation, and the government needs to act. Climate change is nothing new and the national reach of the federal government is absolutely necessary to address this huge problem. Opponents of action don't want to converse, they lie repeatedly, and they see no problem. The government needs to act. The government spying on its own citizens is nothing new. We now know, with no help from government transparency (and a lot of confusion due to government lies) that there is a secret court enabling covert action against all Americans, costing us treasure, trust, and ignoring our Constitution. I'm glad the president welcomes this "conversation", though you'd think if he really welcomed it he wouldn't have worked so hard to hide it from the American people. However, it's action that we need not more talk. And race? We need to discuss race? If you don't know that race leads to different treatment by the law, by the government, by the private sector, I'm quite sure you can't hold a meaningful conversation about it. The outright or closeted racists sure don't want to talk about it. George Wallace didn't want to converse about it--but I'm sure he would've been glad to spew his poison all over you if you had let him. Maybe Lou Dobbs will converse with us? We do not need a conversation, we need fact finding, transparency, we need to get rid of privatization of the military and our security services and prisons and schools, we need to end the enormous failure known as the War on Drugs, we need to do a lot of things. Conversing with people who are clearly willing to lie and mislead and have done so over a number of years will not help, and as a waste of time and energy it will actually hurt.
Converse all you want, but if you really care about these problems (and they are not new and shiny and need studying) do something! Give the people initiatives they can rally behind. Hope and change, remember? Obama has often asked that the left push him to do things, but isn't that why he was elected and re-elected? Who does he think voted for him? He does quite a bit for the right and the corporations, often very quietly with little prodding (see Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership or NSA expansion or drone programs and many more). This usage of "conversation" is shorthand for "let's wait until people are distracted about something else that we can encourage a conversation about so that people are distracted until the next problem..." I do not welcome these conversations.