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Impotent Nation

Yesterday,  I wrote a little blurb about taking a step back for a minute in the wake of all the recent shootings.  I spoke about letting reason overcome our fears and that there is room for compromise and discussion.   Yet as I typed those words, and even hoped for their fruition, I realized that we probably won’t allow ourselves the opportunity to discuss and listen and come to a middle ground, we’ll most likely continue down this path of shouting matches and shooting matches until we destroy one another.  We’ve been rendered impotent you see, unable to discuss and engage, unwilling to lay down perceived notions and take up another for even a second.   As a democracy we are currently unreachable and unteachable.   I hold the Koch brothers, our current President, and our 111th and 112th congress entirely, utterly responsible.

A nation is only as good as its leaders and our leaders have robbed us of the ability to have any sort of national discussion about anything.    Consider Mitch McConnell’s message that we need to make sure President Obama is only a one term president (I know there are arguments over the ‘context’ of this comment, I’m not buying them.  Actions, in this case, back up the literal interpretation of the statement, I’m inclined to believe that he meant exactly what he said.)  There’s been time after time the past eight years where congress has not just failed to communicate, they’ve refused to communicate altogether.  President Obama’s unwillingness to open up the TransPacificPartnership for examination makes an absolute mockery of the democratic process for which our soldiers ostensibly fight.

During the writing of the Magna Carta, in the aftermath of the storming of the Bastille, when the forefathers of the United States meted out a document intent on keeping a balance of power and enabling democracy – compromise, not stubbornness, led to growth and vitality.   Enlightenment, openness,  and opportunity guided the ideals and produced healthy nations that went on to become world leaders.  To the shame of our democracy, we currently witness political leaders on both sides of the aisle who blatantly and very publicly refuse to bear the burden of their democratic duty and moral responsibility of engaging in public discourse.     They are goaded thusly, thanks to secret meetings comprised of Wall Street’s elite of the elite where strategy sessions for the best way to gain and keep control of the government include this very  notion of an uncooperative spirit. (See Jane Mayer’s most recent work, “Dark Money,” Doubleday, New York, 2016). The results have manifested themselves in the form of a stagnate economy and an obviously broken society.

So while I wrote with hope and an admittedly idealistic tone, I lamented with each letter and form of punctuation.   I fear we are too far gone.  I am deeply concerned that we’ve already dug our heals in considering the actions of our leaders who have proven to possess an inordinate inability to engage and compromise, and accounting for the echoing sentiments of the ‘us vs. them’ narrative ubiquitous on social media the past several hours.

Today, I write about a new hope.  I hope that I am mistaken about my conclusion.   I  hope we haven’t crossed some point of no return and we can muster the strength to empathize. But if the last decade of leadership and our own reaction to these most recent events is any indication, we are now an impotent nation with regards to conversation and meeting in the middle, and my hope is in vain.

May I be proven wrong….

Frankie

 


Challenged

There’s not a one of us right now that isn’t sickened and saddened by the events taken place the past few days in our nation.  More acutely, there are women mourning the loss of their husbands, children trying to understand that daddy will never come home, and mothers who will never feel their son’s strong arms again. One wife watched her husband die after being shot, the other heard about it on the local news.  One child could smell the sulfur from the recently discharged gun, the other fearfully watched his mother fall apart after hearing that her husband was “one of the ones”.   Both mothers struggle to understand how another human being could be so hateful as to shoot their son in cold blood.

We are a mess.

As social media blows up in the wake of all of this, one thing stands out to me among  others:  we must not dig our heals in.  We can not allow ourselves to become so divided that we pass a point of no return with a strictly ‘us and them’ narrative.  There is room for talk and discussion.  There is room for compromise.  There is room for both sides to admit that work can be done within each community to bring us closer together.  There is a time (I would say that this could be it) that we say to one another “We are better than this, let’s work this out.”

Our instincts would tell us to fight.  They would have us defer to adrenaline and emotions and fear in the face of a threat that has no name and moves like a ghost among us.  Can we step back for a moment?  Do we have the wherewithal in ourselves to take a deep breath and allow reason to prevail?  Are we mature enough to understand that we can overcome our initial instincts in order to examine the causes and treat them, rather than just slapping a band-aid on the symptoms out of a hurried reaction?  Can we employ thought and dialogue in a healthy way to strengthen our nation?   Most importantly, can we summon grace from within ourselves at this moment and dole it out in great portions to one another?

I hope.  I hope dearly and I hope with every breath that I take that we can somehow manage to open our ears to each side, look at the evidence with impartial eyes, and feel the pain of every wife, child, and mother out there who today must accept the fact that they have lost a part of themselves.  This is our challenge, may we rise to it for the sake of one another.

To grace, and our nation.

Frankie