Sunday, December 16, 2012

That Same Small Town In Each of Us

The fact is prosperity has a purpose. It is to allow us to pursue "the better angels," to give us time to think and grow. Prosperity with a purpose means taking your idealism and making it concrete by certain acts of goodness. It means helping a child from an unhappy home learn how to read....It means teaching troubled children through your presence that there's such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it's soft and insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved?  

Well I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation....

....In the quarter-century since George H.W. Bush said those words as part of his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party to run for the office of President of the United States in New Orleans, the world has changed remarkably.  Has that change brought us any closer to his declared desire?

I have used this space to vent my spleen on this issue previously and - guess what - the events of Friday in Connecticut have served to remind me that it is a sentiment that bears repeating.  All that separates those of us of the human persuasion from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to reason and our thumbs.  As a people, we the people of these United States, need to stop accepting one's willingness to wear mittens as some sort of palatable alternative to making them use reason, considered thought and common sense. 

If you cannot agree that a society in which one enters a place where children - little, tiny, moppet-aged children in grades K-4, with firepower to shoot at and to murder twenty-six people INCLUDING 18 CHILDREN needs to take a good, hard, soul-searching look at itself then do me, my children and my as-yet-unborn grandchildren all a favor:  go find some other fucking planet to inhabit. 

I know not what infuriated more when I first learned of the events in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday - on my way back to my office from court.  The mere fact that such a thing had happened "again" or the fact that I feel cuckolded by my inability to do a single goddamn thing to keep it from being repeated.  For whether it happens on a college campus, an office building, a shopping mall or - in an elementary school as was the case this past Friday, it assuredly shall happen again.  And when it does we shall engage in the same inevitable exercise in which we always engage when something like this happens.  We will search for an explanation - as if the behavior of a psychopath is something that can be readily explained - and we will look to assign blame to someone for letting it happen.  Assignment of blame has become big business in these United States.  It wiped the floor with acceptance of responsibility a generation ago and never looked back. 

Radical thought for me, you and everyone else.  Want to assign blame for this sort of depravity?  Look squarely in the mirror at the image looking back at you.  Unfortunately, we are all complicit in it.  President Obama's words - spoken with the pain a father of two school-age children would feel for mothers/fathers of such children whose babies had been taken from them violently in the most unlikely of settings - were pitch perfect.  And he was correct.  Those children belonged to all of us.... 

....So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.

Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours....

If the young children who were murdered belonged to all of us, then so did the young man who murdered all of them.  Like it or not, he is ours as much as each of them. 

Why would I say such a "Hey Don't Pick On Me - I Just Wanna Snuggle" type of thing about me and you?  It is true.  I deserve the criticism and - at the risk of making you feel too badly about yourself - you probably do too.  Too goddamn long ago we opted out of doing that which must be done in this country, opting instead for doing exclusively that which gives us pleasure and/or that which is easy.  I know not what I am talking about?  See for yourself.  Spend some time on YouTube scouring national political advertisements - you know the ones for that nominally important position of President of the United States - and see the "issues" to which they speak.  Irrespective of age, we have morphed into the "Attention Span of a Gnat" generation.  As long as we keep getting the kibble, we will keep pressing the button.   When all day, every day is all about me for me and it is all about you for you, it makes it easy to ignore the disaffected and the discontented.  Really easy.....

....until one of these "boo-hoo, feel sorry for himself" ass wipes does something to get a moment's attention all for himself here in the land that made the Hilton Sisters stars and turned the Kardashian Spawn into a media empire.  All hail the Attention Whore!

What the fuck is wrong with us?  A question that each of us should spend a little time trying to figure out how to answer.  And until we come up with that answer we shall continue to dance the dance of the impotent.  And mourn the loss of our future:  our children and their innocence....

....as the tall grass waves in the wind.


-AK



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