Tag Archive for: Violence

An Earnest Wish (On the Murders in Texas)

On November 5, a lone gunman hunted saints in a small church in Sutherland Springs. On Sunday, babies, mothers, the elderly died in one man’s video-game-come-to-life, and by Thursday, America is back to business as usual. We’ve moved on to tax bills and China and the best new shows on Netflix. We’re back to our obligations, our PTA meetings, our to-do lists. We’re holding our smart phones closer than our wives and babies.

 

Maybe those saints in Sutherland Springs believed the God-man when he said: “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” Maybe I do, too.

Even still, I wish he’d conquer it a little bit better.

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What is America?

Yesterday was All Saints Sunday, and during the prayers of the people, I prayed for the departed saints in Sutherland Springs, Texas, all 26 of them, including no less than three children, a woman who was 5 months pregnant, and the the elderly who could duck, or run, or whatever.

What good is prayer? I genuinely wonder sometimes, but in that wondering, I prayed for America, too. America the wasteland.

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Who are we? What is America?

America–land of insanity, of gun rights and rage, of itchy trigger fingers.

America–land of politicians with their soothing words signifying nothing, the genetically-modified weeds growing among God’s wheat.

America–where a good run up in the stock market or consumer confidence or the coming #BLACKFRIDAYDEALS or positive cattle futures or any news of prosperity numbs our collective consciousness to death, death, death, death.

America–where we pay lip service to the life of the unborn but shell out big bucks to preserve the capacity for one man to commit mass murder and infanticide.

America–where rifles spit bullets into the Body of Christ. On a Sunday. In November. Blackest of days, again.

America--you are heartless, and where is the soul when there is no heart, beating?

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***join me***

Do you like the content here or in my bi-monthly Tiny Letter? Do you read it over morning coffee? Want to help defray the costs of the veritable coffee plantation that fuels my writing? Then JOIN ME in the lab, the fun factory, the place I try out new things to see if they’ll stick. (Ahem… my Patreon community.) What is Patreon? It’s a way for you, the reader, to become a patron, a person supporting the arts (my art to be precise), and receive behind the scenes content in return. Visit my Patreon page for more information. And, if you enjoy this website and haven’t yet signed up for the bi-monthly Tiny Letter newsletter, feel free to sign up below.

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June 14: The Day the Politicians Were Shot

The alt-right or vitriolic left.
The anger filling the spaces between.
“I’d like to punch him in the face,”
might be the most extreme iteration.
“You should be ashamed,”
might be the most docile.
Every thread of outrage pulled
with itching fingers leaves us
naked as cavemen and just as refined.
Look around.
Is anything any wonder?

“Once you see [anger and contempt] for what they are, the constant stream of human disasters that history and life bring before us can also be seen for what they are: the natural outcome of human choice, of people choosing to be angry and contemptuous. … We have to remember this when we read what Jesus and other biblical writers say about anger. To cut the root of anger is to wither the tree of human evil.” ~Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our  Hidden Life in God

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The People v. Donald Trump

In the coffee shop, a fellow asked, “if we stopped giving him so much attention, don’t you think he’d go away?” It was an honest question, one made two weeks before Donald Trump picked up Alabama, Arkansas (my home state), Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and perhaps Missouri. It was the question before the wave of violent clashes at Trump rallies, before the cancellation of his Chicago stop due to escalating fears of riots. (Trump won Illinois despite the cancellation of his rally.)

He’s not going away. Mull this over for a minute.

The New York billionaire uses words like mallets–heavy, pounding–beats his opponents into submission, encourages his supporters to resort to bare knuckles and cheap shots. And aren’t his supporters ready for it? Aren’t we all? Aren’t we the throbbing mass of mixed martial arts spectators? Don’t we love a good brawl? Don’t We The People believe that all good things–all things American–come through blood, sweat, and tears? And when’s the last time we saw blood in politics? Bring on the blood.

The people–who are they? Media outlets speak of Middle Class Whites, the great throngs of the disenfranchised. The Mexicans take White jobs. The Blacks take White tax dollars. The Muslims take White babies, White airplanes, our gleaming Twin by-god Towers. These people, says the media, are potential energy, spilt gas waiting for a lit match. Donald Trump is the sulfur striking the side of the box. He’s the spark.

See him, this strongman who stokes the fire he’s lit. And when the fire has done the damage, who then throws the ball toward the surviving hornets’ nest just to see what might happen? (“Why did you throw the ball toward the hornets’ nest,” the responsible adults asks the petulant child. “To see what might happen when the hornets stirred themselves up,” he says, beaming.)

But this is what men like Mr. Trump know (men of power, one might say): fear and violence move people to action. Hollow, vague promises of power are actionable. The people stand behind his violent rants, because the people–the violent, MMA, WWE, Jean-Claude Van Damme people–have violence flowing out of their ears. And knowing this, Mr. Trump prods the violence to action. About not becoming the Republican nominee for the World’s highest office, he says, “I think you would see problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen. I really do. I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.” (Source)

He shrugs his shoulders. “Hey, I’m not telling them to riot, but who can stop the people?”

The people, he says. Invokes. Nudges. Gigs. Directs.

The Trump steamroller barrels across the country, grinds its dissenters into powder. Roll, baby roll; grind the bones of the establishment, the immigrants, the refugees, the minorities, the jobless, the silent protestors, the non-people into chalk. See the winds of change that would blow the chalk away. This is the political brand of Donald J. Trump; he wants you to believe his people are The People.

The People–who are they? They are the Latino man providing for his family, giving his pound of flesh to the United States Government, his blood sweat and tears for baby formula and rubber nipples. They are the Black boy in Ferguson, or Baltimore, or Whereverville, the one hoping for a small business in the hand instead of a bullet to the back. They are the Muslim refugee, the one seeking asylum from otherworld dictators (this refugee, trapped between too many dictators). They are the middle class white man typing on the keyboard, asking The People (yes, The People) to please keep shining the light on the demons of fear, the demons of violence, the demons behind both the symptoms and the causes. Shine the light on the problem of men who might foment fear for personal gain, for power, for the lesser kingdoms of men.

The People–we are better than this. And if we are not, God save The People.

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Photo by Michael Vaden; licensed under Creative Commons via Flickr.

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