There's always a controversy, isn't there? And the divide over politics in America is so great one really has to challenge oneself to pay attention. There used to be no excuse for not voting, not taking part in the political process. But, now there's a great excuse. It just makes you sick.
So, this week following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, the usual "we're praying for you" chorus followed, and apparently there were many writers, tweeters, bloggers, and posters who jumped all over it, criticizing those who would offer such prayers. This morning, I read one well known Conservative's criticism of those people for their comments, and somehow connected her argument to the 1st Amendment rights to Free Speech. Of course she did. Or, maybe her thesis was to complain Democrats always seem to use tragedy to push for Gun Control legislation, and that they can't really be serious about Gun Control because there is no way they are going to get it just because it comes on the heels of some awful event.
Let's be reasonable. Or, maybe reason isn't in our playbook anymore.
I wrote about this yesterday and I guess I just don't want to let it go like we always do after our typical seven days of mourning and then moving on. We need new Gun Control in this country. The New York Times even devoted Page 1 today for an editorial about it, first time they've made that editorial decision since 1920.
Saying Democrats aren't really interested in Gun Control, and criticizing the President for not making Gun Control his priority when he had majorities on Capital Hill is ridiculous. And, it's just the way. Stating that a 24 hour window is too close to a tragedy to push for legislation is an insult. But, then, what do Republicans and their Siamese twin the NRA care about insulting anyone? Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner and presumed Republican nominee gives a crap about insulting anyone? Right.
Look, it's certainly a knee-jerk reaction to another senseless and horrible tragedy to call for greater Gun Control. It's because people want to do something. This killing is beyond words at this point. It's just incomprehensible that the Congress won't take action. Greater background checks. Simple.
So, that said, I also understand the criticism about praying, and I get the need to pray, too. I don't really think anyone is knocking prayer. Those that would knock prayer in the face of a tragedy would knock praying at any time. It's not their thing.
By the way, I pray sometimes. I meditate, too. Every day now. So, to each his own. The one thing I don't really understand is someone going on social media after someone dies and saying "So and So, RIP," or "So and So, we'll miss you." Who are they talking to, anyway? The person is dead, and I don't think the powers that be in either Heaven or Hell provide a way to hook up to the Internet.
So, if people want to pray as a means of solace, support, dealing with their grief, and sharing their sympathy, so be it. The point the critics are trying to make, obviously, is that we need to go beyond prayer, which is, as the commentator explained by way of Father Gerald Murray, asking God "to manifest the goodness in answer to our petitions."
We can't count on our prayers to solve the unbelievable problem we have in our country of senseless killing and out of control access to firearms. We need people who are willing to take action, regardless of the potentially negative political consequences. The President made Health Care his priority. He had to make a choice. He felt that he could count on the will of the people to help get some sensible gun control.
Your First Amendment rights are just that, a right to Free Speech. We're all clear on what that means, right? What is not so clear, apparently to Republican candidates, voters, the NRA, and Conservative commentators, is the 2nd Amendment. Not clear at all.
Thanks for reading. If you want to be notified of future City Living blog posts, feel free to insert your email into the spot on the right rail of this post. You'll not be added to any other list, and you won't get any spam. You can also "Like" the City Living blog on Facebook, the specific address being www.facebook.com/citylivingchicago.