Archive for June 15th, 2017

Vincent Van Gogh- Sorrowing Old Man

I wanted to say something about yesterday’s shooting that took place in Alexandria, not too far from the hotel where we regularly stay when we visit the area. I sat here this morning and ran over all kinds of points that ran the spectrum of viewpoints on the event in political and societal terms. But in the end it came down to one point:

I was not shocked nor surprised by what happened in Alexandria.

Nor was I shocked by the overlooked story of the murders yesterday of three UPS workers in San Francisco by a disgruntled employee who was also killed.

Saying that doesn’t please me in any way.

The fact that I feel numb to this and have come to expect violence is dismaying in so many ways. This numbness only deepens the feelings of helplessness that set such events in action in the first place, driving people toward extremism.

It weakens our moral compass, allowing us to accept and normalize things that should horrify us.

It diminishes our humanity to the point that we see such events as only distant events with numbers of casualties.

It increases the distance between us, further fracturing whatever commonality we once held. It makes us try to place blame on those who differ from ourselves– in political persuasion, in ethnicity, race, etc.

We are lessened as a people by every single one of these events.

Yet, forgive me for saying this, I don’t see these tragedies ending anytime soon.

We are an open wound of a nation at the moment. I don’t know that we have anyone currently with the ability to heal this wound, to bring together the people of this country in common cause. Certainly not the person in the White House who has displayed little compassion in his life and shows no signs of embracing all the people of this nation. ¬†His abject greed, selfishness, spitefulness and habitual dishonesty are not traits that will ever serve the greater good.

And it will most likely not be healed in the House or the Senate where party tribalism has won over. Statesmanship is dead and simply doing what is right for the people is no longer the directing principle. It has been replaced by constant short term thinking– the next election, the next campaign event, the next fundraiser. The next large donor. Blind eyes are turned to whatever serves these short term goals, however harmful they may be to the long range health of the nation.

But I don’t want to politicize this. I don’t think there is a political solution to this problem.

Nor a simple answer.

Or even one at all.

Maybe this is like a horrible rollercoaster ride where are strapped in with the tracks leading to a place we really don’t want to go but we can’t get off ¬†because it’s moving way too fast now. So , there is nothing to do but ride it out with hearts bursting and screams in our throats.

As I said, it’s dismaying. The thought and the certainty that there is more violence, more bloodshed ahead is always disheartening.

Maybe this is just venting and serves no purpose. Most likely that’s true. But we can’t just say “oh, well” and move on time after time when these things happen. At some point, it will reach a critical mass and we all have to answer for our willingness to accept the unacceptable for so long.

I dread that day.








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