The trite and pointless “our thoughts and prayers go out to…….” bit is such a horrifically shopworn cliche that criticizing how useless it is, is also in fact cliche.
Yet the platitude persists and thus we have to provide you with another op-ed slamming it.
“We send our thoughts and prayers out to….” is what you say when you have nothing to say, but feel obligated to say something anyway. It’s your way of making a statement, without saying a God damn thing.
It’s the gospel of press release, the religion of corporatism and the altar of what’s-been-tested-on-a-focus group.
It’s been a well established stale, worthless expression for many years already (haven’t these people seen that episode of Veep from a couple seasons ago?- “we’ll just break out the thoughts and prayers template, like we always do”)
Thoughts and prayers is the industry standard, go-to catch-phrase for politicians and public figures in all tragic situations, including natural disasters, deadly accidents and serious illnesses.
However, these worthless words are now becoming most commonly linked (along with the equally evil bastard cousin “it’s too early to politicize what happened”) with mass shootings and gun violence.
This uniquely American illness and epidemic, which only happens here thus verifying how controllable it truly is, keeps inspiring plenty of additional thoughts and prayers, but never any action from our politicians.
Are they thinking about taking action?
Are they praying for action to be taken?
Of course not.
They’re simply just having their flaks and social media managers tweet soulless, hollow meaningless bromides for them, while they continue doing the National Rifle Association’s bidding.
Every time innocent children are slaughtered, Congress doesn’t take action to stand up to the NRA, and instead simply express thoughts and prayers via social media.
What’s even worse is that while these mass shootings become more frequent in number and deadlier each time, Congressional leaders actually move to EASE gun laws, not tighten them.
It’s truly a sick situation, and yesterday, with the death of 26 innocents in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church, it became even sicker. Even as children, babies, teens, adults and seniors died in a house of prayer, politicians in the pocket of the NRA tweeted their thoughts and prayers.
They did this somehow oblivious to the irony, or to the fact that they were insulting everyone’s intelligence. Luckily, there were plenty of other Twitter users out there putting them on notice.
-Like President of Let America Vote and former Army Intelligence Officer Jason Kander calling out Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
-Mom’s Demand Action Founder and Everytown for Gun Safety activist Shannon Watts putting Texas Governor Greg Abbott in his place.
Thoughts and prayers are not actions, and if you clicked on this, then you’re most likely ready to take some action, so what can you do? Well, in writing this essay, we felt the best actions we could take is provide links to information about sensible gun control and the organizations that are fighting to try and get that achieved.
-Sign the petition urging lawmakers at the Illinois State Capitol to pass SB 1657, which would tighten restrictions on gun dealers and help combat illegal gun trafficking.
-Watch this Last Week Tonight with John Oliver segment on the NRA, how they work, and why they’re so effective:
–Join/Donate Everytown for Gun Safety, and add your name to the list of those sending a message to Congress, urging them to push back against NRA leadership, who are lobbying members of Congress to pass two extreme bills:
(1) so-called “Concealed Carry Reciprocity” which would gut your state’s gun laws and
(2) a bill that would make it easy for anyone to get a gun silencer, including people with dangerous histories.
These bills are the NRA’s top priorities in 2017, so blocking them is an important way to take action and demand a country free from gun violence.
-Go to the “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns” homepage, tab “how to help,” and follow the signs.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune corporation blogging community Chicago Now.
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