God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Rice: Peggy Noonan on Scaring Our Children

posted by gp_intern

Peggy Noonan, a special assistant and speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, isn’t exactly my favorite pundit, but she’s right on in her OpinionJournal.com column today on the effect on children of our cultural propensity toward in-your-face violence.

Her strongest language is aimed at the callousness of the rich:

We are frightening our children to death, and I’ll tell you what makes me angriest. I am not sure the makers of our culture fully notice what they are doing, what impact their work is having, because the makers of our culture are affluent. Affluence buys protection. You can afford to make your children safe. You can afford the constant vigilance needed to protect your children from the culture you produce, from the magazine and the TV and the CD and the radio. … The lacking, the poor, the working and middle class–they have no protection. Their kids are on their own. And they’re scared.

Suffer the little children.

Jim Rice is editor of Sojourners magazine.



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Mike Hayes

posted April 28, 2007 at 3:27 am


Jim, The “60 Minutes” piece on violence and the complicity of “Rappers” and our society generally with respect to … “Don’t Snitch”… was an eye opener, for me. “Don’t Snitch” refers to refusal to report violent behavior to the police. Part of the message was that commercial profits to producers of the message from “Rappers” silence a more open discussion about “Don’t Snitch”, But, more compelling, to me, was the information about the acceptance of “Don’t Snitch” by persons living in poor neighborhoods. If “Don’t Snitch” is widely accepted in poor neighborhoods there might be a complete breakdown of society, there.



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Wolverine

posted April 28, 2007 at 10:34 pm


Mike: “Don’t be a snitch” makes perfect sense if you are constantly being told that law enforcement is some sort of alien and oppressive presence in your community. This particular meme is mostly a specialty of the left, especially the Al Sharpton wing of the Democratic party, which tends to view assume that any shooting incident involving the police is a racially motivated atrocity, even when the evidence indicates a tragic mistake. So if you see “Don’t be a snitch” as a problem, perhaps you might want to consider doing something about the Sharptons? Wolverine



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squeaky

posted April 29, 2007 at 2:12 am


Gotta say, Wolverine, putting it all on the Sharptons is a gross oversimplification of certainly a far more complex problem. Don’t you think it would be far more proactive to look at all the contributing factors of this issue, including, but not limited to, the “Sharptons”?



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 29, 2007 at 3:18 am


“Don’t be a snitch” makes perfect sense if you are constantly being told that law enforcement is some sort of alien and oppressive presence in your community. You might have wanted talk to black folks in Cincinnati about that very issue about a decade ago — they felt that the police were there only to protect well-to-do whites who came into their neighborhoods for cultural events and the like. This particular meme is mostly a specialty of the left, especially the Al Sharpton wing of the Democratic party, which tends to view assume that any shooting incident involving the police is a racially motivated atrocity, even when the evidence indicates a tragic mistake. Well, have you ever been stopped by the police simply for driving in the “wrong neighborhood,” even if you live there? I personally haven’t had that indignity, but I know people who have. After a while you get tired of it. The shootings represent only the tip of the iceberg.



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Wolverine

posted April 29, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Rick, I’ll do you one better: I’m pretty sure I got a ticket once for “driving while white”. In downtown Detroit, a majority black city with a black mayor and a mostly black police force, I made a perfectly legal left turn and was pulled over by a police officer, who happened to be black, and given a ticket. He did the full I’ve-got-a-gun-and-a-badge-and-you-don’t attitude thing. I went back, took photos of the intersection to prove what I did was legal, and prepared to fight the ticket, but the officer didn’t show up at the hearing. Believe it or not, I’ve been pulled over more than once in white suburbs where I “belonged” too. I won’t tell you that “driving while black” doesn’t happen, but I often wonder how many of these are just the usual hassles created by speed traps and cops who are behind on their quotas. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 29, 2007 at 10:23 pm


I’ll do you one better: I’m pretty sure I got a ticket once for “driving while white”. In downtown Detroit, a majority black city with a black mayor and a mostly black police force, I made a perfectly legal left turn and was pulled over by a police officer, who happened to be black, and given a ticket. He did the full I’ve-got-a-gun-and-a-badge-and-you-don’t attitude thing. I can explain that one, however. Where I grew up whites came to black neighborhoods only to buy drugs — I’m sure that happens were you are as well — so, depending on the time of day, the cop may have believed that. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s the way it is.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 30, 2007 at 3:51 pm


“You might have wanted talk to black folks in Cincinnati about that very issue about a decade ago” Or African-Americans in New Orleans today.



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sophie brown

posted April 30, 2007 at 4:01 pm


Yes, Wolverine, I wonder why you are trying to make this into an anti-sharpton anti-liberal attack. What Noonan is talking about is far, far more pervasive than that. Violence is the dish our mainstream culture serves up to our kids, just about everywhere you look. I do not allow my twelve year old to watch mainstream tv or play video games, but I tell you I am really swimming against the tide in my middle class predominantly white predominantly christian predominantly republican town. I don’t judge those who don’t set limits too harshly, since we’ve all been taught to be passive consumers of our world over the last couple decades. We have too much faith in the market economy to steer us toward the good life, even though it has failed on many many levels. We all need a sabbath — something to take us out of the world of commerce to reexamine who we are and what we need.Noonan is not my cup of tea, but I am with her on this…..



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Wolverine

posted April 30, 2007 at 5:00 pm


sophie: I can’t make this into anything by myself. I just made an observation and asked a question. The thing is, I see a political leader on the left who is aggravating the problem of lawlessness that culminates with the “Don’t Snitch” minset. You may think I’m barking up the wrong tree here, but I am allowed to ask the question, aren’t I? Wolverine



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Junehill

posted April 30, 2007 at 9:03 pm


Despite her background, Peggy Noonan is now my favorite newspaper columnist, and I look forward to her views every Saturday in the WSJ. No longer is she for or against someone just because of politics. She seems to be trying to live with at least 3 of C.S. Lewis’s 4 loves. Sadly, given the times in which we live, I knew, before I even logged on to read the link, that the sojo writer would hold Noonan’s work for Reagan and Bush against her.



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Sue Badeau

posted April 30, 2007 at 10:02 pm


THis is a great point by Ms Noonan. Children in some of our neighborhoods are saturated with images of violence – in real life and in “play” life. I was recently involved with a group of youth who created a survey and surveyed 900 of their peers. They asked what the reasons for the increased violence in our communities were. One of their top answers is that small children are exposed to too much violence in the media (all forms of media). Listen to the children . . .As for the “Don’t Snitch” mentality – to really get a grasp on this issue there is no better source than Elijah Anderson, and his book: “Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City” – really one of those “must reads” for anyone who cares about these isssues, and wants to have a real conversation and move towards real solutions.



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neuro_nurse

posted May 1, 2007 at 1:29 am


Sue Badeau, Thanks for the reference. I just finished my ‘behavioral aspects of global health course. Some of the students elected to read Jed Horne s Desire Street: a true story of death and deliverance in New Orleans. for the course. The don t snitch mentality was one of the many issues related to crime in the impoverished communities in New Orleans. I believe that we are talking about a culture that is very different from the one with which most of us (affluent whites) are familiar. I also think that don t snitch is not a code of honor among thieves, but rather a code for survival; that if you snitch you are not only going to bring a hostile police force into the community, but you may also become the target of retribution from the person for whom you gave information to the police. In the affluent white community we say, don t get involved, or stay out of other people s business.



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squeaky

posted May 1, 2007 at 6:54 pm


I certainly think that’s a good point, Neuro Nurse–how many people let fear keep them from action? Also, how many of us have been raised with the “don’t be a tattle tale” mentality?



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