Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Enough is Enough!

I think it's important for all leaders... not just leaders of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party... to say, look, we can't stand for this...we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the cross-hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize there's consequences to that action."

-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, March 25, 2010 

When was it that life became so violent in this nation? I grew up playing cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers and learning to fall down from charges of finger-guns because that was what I saw at the movies. I saw trailers from WWII movies with heroes giving their lives for their country. And despite the invective of the McCarthy era, and the fear of the atom bomb, we lived fairly peacefully. Yes, children died in car accidents, or drowned in boating accidents. But school, riding to town on the bus, or going to a grocery store was safe for a kid. But society turned a deaf ear to such issues as sexual predation, child, spouse or elder abuse. Those were ‘private matters.’

Far be it from me to think that the ‘50’s were Nirvana. The kind of lock-step thinking and the discrimination toward anyone who was different was the Kool-aid we drank. We were proud Americans because we had won the War. We were proud Americans because we were producing goods faster than we had ever done before. We were proud Americans because that was what the Press, our teachers, our pastors, our Scout masters taught us to be.

This was pre-JFK and I remember a civics teacher bragging that in the US we didn’t resort to such juntas and governmental over-throws that we saw in Latin America or in Africa. We had an orderly system of democratic government that made such anger and deadly removal from power unnecessary. We were civilized—we thought. But that was an era who had forgotten the issues of the McKinley assignation, and certainly in Texas we ignored the Lincoln death.

Life is not safe and Representative Giffords’ shooting is just one more instance to remind us of it. The loss of life and the injury of this event is a time to mourn but it does invoke in us a need to address the invective that we have allowed because we have been so inured to the whole political process. All too many of us turn a blind eye to the speeches of candidates or those who support them. We shake our heads and say “Ain’t it awful” or laugh at the snark and vituperative. We are unwilling to take government into our hands and say “Enough is enough!” We cannot use such fire-breathing invective in campaign rhetoric. We cannot continue to point our fingers demonizing others and still think it is just “finger-gun” play acting. There are those who cannot apprehend the difference anymore because they have grown up when access to those real guns was regular and ubiquitous.

The unregulated world of the post-Reagan era meant we are free. But free to kill ourselves with stupidity? The pre-Regan era knew that there were limits to our freedom. There were limits to consumerism; there were limits to what a society can absorb and what it could not. And it always lagged behind the younger generation. But at least we were safe to go to the polls. We were safe to go to school, to the grocery store to meet a candidate.

In the Church for the past 10 years we have been a part of the same kind of destroying rhetoric. We have heard definitions of what it means to be a follower of Christ that makes our hair stand on end. Westboro Baptist Church does not have a corner on hate. (Although, they seem to manufacture it for the most bizarre reasons) We Episcopalians have done our bit. I am heartened by my bishop’s call to inclusion and welcome to those who have left on Iker’s bandwagon. I am filled with hope that those who have been excluded from the arms of TEC for so many years here will be able to embrace what it means to be Anglican in its truest sense.

In one sense, after 10 years of quarrelling, I am tired. I am tired of the name-calling and the vituperative. I a weary of people who want to be known as Christians or Americans who can only abide with those who think as they do.  We must be willing to come together and work on issues so that we are not hitting each other over the head with our rhetoric whether from the pulpit or the stump. The time has come! And the time is NOW!


Terri said...

I don't know if you read what I posted on my blog on Sunday...but yes, I agree. Oddly I wrote a prayer for Epiphany and posted a poem before the tragedy on Sat. but both, along with my reflection on Sunday, point to the need for all of us to take responsibilty for things done and things not done....even standing by quietly when others act out.

SCG said...

I agree and have stated similar thoughts at my blog. And I'm glad you brought in the Church into all of this because I am *really* tired of the blah blah blah in the Anglican Communion which we both know the so-called Covenant will only exacerbate. The time is now!

SingingOwl said...

Wow...I simply MUST read your blog on a regular basis. That was so beautifully and wisely said. Thanks.