I spent much of the day listening to news about the tragic shootings in Wisconsin. Much of what I want to say is probably pretty petty. I was struck by the irony of Reince Priebus, the head of the GOP, on one of the talking head shows saying that the Democrats were spreading hate and divisiveness by asking Mr. Romney to share his tax returns. I can't help but wonder where he was when Michelle Bachmann and Louie Gomert were making claims that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by Muslim terrorists, picking on specific innocent people by name. I can't help but wonder where Mr. Priebus has been while almost everyone in the GOP has coyly egged the birthers and "secret Muslim" crowd on. Of course they didn't say "yes, Mr. Obama was born in Kenya or he's a Muslim," but when asked by the press they almost universally responded with comments like, "well, he SAYS he's a Christian, so I guess I have to take him at his word," or "I haven't seen his birth certificate, but..." You get the idea. No effort to stamp out the lunacy and every effort to tacitly encourage it. And the charges of Obama being a socialist and not liking American values. And these people accuse Mr. Obama and the Democrats of fomenting hate and division. How ironic is that?
What does that have to do with some nut going into a temple and shooting a bunch of people who were celebrating their faith? When you preach fear and hate - especially in hard times when people are looking for someone to blame for their troubles - the soil is fertile for bigotry and violence. At the moment we have a perfect convergence of events for nuturing that which is worst in us. 9/11 shook our sense of national identity, which has been further eroded by wars, torture (abandonment of our principles) and growing dislike of us around the world. This was followed by economic collapse. The GOP has used the election of our first black president to feed latent and not so latent racism and fear by trying (with unfortunate effectiveness) to turn him into some kind of alien enemy out to take away our way of life. I don't think their goal was necessarily to foment the kind of violence we saw today, but that's what happens when you feed monsters. They behave monstrously.
I don't know what my point is. I'm so very sad for the people who were killed. I'm sad for my country. I'm angry too. The toxic cynicism which has been infecting our psyches since Watergate combined with the continuing failure of our educational system and the uselessness of our media, have robbed us of our capacity for discernment. We have been programmed to question everything, which amounts in the end, to effectively questioning nothing. We seek lies, not truth which means we are doomed to have truth elude us more often than not.
And then there are those sad, lost souls at Westboro Baptist Church, celebrating God's latest killing machine. I thank All That Is that I don't have to live inside their skins. It must be a state of constant agony to be so filled with hate. I can not imagine it.
I'm going to skip gratitude again this evening. My heart goes out to the families of the dead, to the family of the killer, to us all. Also to my friend Rosalie, whose mother died last night. It was a mercy. Her mind had been taken by Alzheimers some time ago. Still, it becomes a different Universe when your mother is gone.
Grant Us the Wisdom
to Choose Love Instead of Hate