The population of our country is over 320 million. There are over 390 million guns in our country.
Don’t we grow tired of kneeling at the graves of the everyday murdered? Don’t we see the thick, slowly growing cloud that covers our country and now the world? Don’t we feel the rain of tears that soak our souls?
Do we see the lightning strikes of hate, of fear, of shouting crowds calling for more, the thunder of guns firing, and the cries of the dying and wounded innocents?
Read of countries arrayed against us as we destroy cherished values and shrug at the strident voice of the demagogue. Hate and anger fueling hellfire.
Isn’t it time to say “enough”? Isn’t it time to call out the so-called leadership we have chosen and demand an end to this babbling to “bases” that shriek their twisted desire for lions to eat others in an arena of disagreement?
There is a risk here. A risk of losing friends and family in the basement of discarded values. A risk of harsh criticism from the crowd. I’ll swallow that bitterness. Over the years of writing for this newspaper, I have tried to stay moderate and reasonable, regardless of the issue. I know there are only a few who give a damn about what I have to say. But too many sleepless nights compel me to say it. I’ll say it to my friends, my golf buddies, my lunch pals, and I hope for something better than rejection and ridicule.
Washington was called the father of our country. He had many flaws. But not one of those flaws damaged the flow of virtue that ran above the rattling of our founding. It’s no coincidence that the word “father” was used. A father can inoculate his children with values. He can lead them to good things. Thus, the highest office in our political world has a massive responsibility to lead in that way. His or her personal behavior as well as the strength to hold to the rules of our constitution are critical. A president can calm social storms before they erupt into destructive episodes. He can make bridges internally and externally to allies and avoid conflicts.
But what have we now? Rhetoric that demands the worst in us. A shouting, hissing repetition of those demands.
Freedom of speech does not allow for shouting “fire” in a crowded theater when there is none. It does not allow for hate speech. Decent folks don’t demand exorcism of those who are not of our color, not of our faith, not of our creed. All of us are made of the same stuff.
Have you noticed that the ad lib rhetoric is natural and straightforward when it spews anger and division? But when called upon for sympathy and outrage at violent acts, the rhetoric must be read from a speech writer’s teleprompter.
The rhetoric also has many supporters, including at least one television channel that was designed precisely to support it. Digital media allow disgusting discourse and an outlet for screeds that mirror rhetoric from the top. Watch the carefully scripted “visits” to mourning cities, the drooping face of manufactured sadness as hands and hugs are offered.
Where is the cry of “enough”?