Once again America is rocked by shootings. One, which went unrealized by most Americans happened in Georgia. it left 1 dead and 3 injured. Then the more dramatic shooting in San Bernardino, CA left 14 dead and 17 wounded (as of this moment).
As I logged onto Facebook and Twitter accounts, I was further saddened to find what I had expected would happen. My disappointment extended to close friends, who, I knew would probably respond as they did. Lives are lost, and the toll of these events has permanently tragic consequences upon the victims and their family and friends, but many of us who are responding to a day of terror are responding with political jargon. To the left, gun control is being screamed. To the right, Muslim terrorism and closing our borders to the alien is being shouted. What has become of us? Is our supposed political omniscience taken the place of empathy and concern for life? Is it more important to jump to conclusions about the sources of these tragedies, than to express concern for the very real loss of human life and health? Are our positions on Islam and refugees, or the Second Amendment and gun control more important than the people who are now suffering because of this tragedy?
If my Facebook feed is any gauge, then the answer is yes. My Twitter feed is only slightly more empathetic. It tweets actual information as much as the polarizing platitudes of a self-righteous political agenda.
If in the moments of greatest tragedy, we as a nation retain our polarized positions, and spout our political talking points, and declare who ought to be the next president, we have lost our souls. My friend, Bill Legault, a Salem city councilman posted a Facebook update, which caused me once again to mark him as one of my Salem heroes. He simply said, “San Bernardino… speechless.” Bill, thank you. My fellow like-minded minister, John Morehead spoke my own concerns by noting the jumping to conclusions, which he had found and had also expected on his Facebook feed.
Once again, we took up sides on gun rights vs. 2nd Amendment freedoms, or Islam vs. the refugee crisis, even before we had the facts. We have spoken politically, and have shown our partisanship before our love. When our personal political golden calf precedes our humanity we have proven that we have lost, or are losing our souls. When we take a tragedy to tell others who they ought to vote for in 2016, we have turned a tragedy into a political commercial.
The story is now unraveling, and coming to light. Some of us ought to be embarrassed, because we were wrong. Those of us who were correct in our assumptions, will probably be emboldened, and that perhaps is worse.
In the morning, it appears that one newspaper will mock politicians who offered their condolences via tweets and social media updates. Apparently, the Daily News will have a massive headline saying, “God Isn’t Fixing This.” It will show comments of prayers from Republican presidential candidates, and include the paper’s position on gun control issues. People are posting this front page and saying that it is a bold and good thing for the Daily News to do.
Yes. Let’s mock caring. That’s the answer. Isn’t it? Political commercialism in the face of tragedy is all that we are left with it seems, because we have lost our souls, and all we are left with are simple political platitudes, and newsroom and stump speech sound bites.
Some people have lost their lives today, and I am heartbroken; but more people are losing their souls tweet by tweet, and update by update, and I am vacillating between concern and anger.
But, I am going to pray, and you can mock me if you want.