Spoiler Alert

You already know

What will happen.

It’s more 

Like a rerun 

Than a new

Show

Of thoughts

And prayers

After 

Each Episode.

Now every day

Is spoiled

By mass murders

En masse.

Families forever

Ruined.

Communities shattered.

And those 

Who relish

Spoiling

The possibility

Of success

Of an opponent

Will stand by

Horror,

And allow

Us

To be terrorized

By the tyranny

Of the crazed

With weapons

Of war

In anywhere,

USA

Any time

Because 

Freedom

To terrorize,

Maim,

And brutally

Murder

Innocent

Actual children

And their friends,

And teachers,

And preachers,

And relatives

Is freedom 

Of their

Sort.

Demand action

From every

Leader

And

Neighbor

And

Person

You know.

Spoiler alert:

For Mothers’ Day

I honored

My mother

With Contributions

To Moms Demand Action

For Gun Safety

And to the

Brigid Alliance.

Moms are being attacked,

And dare I say

Tortured 

Daily,

By fear

And actual assault

On bodily autonomy

Of themselves

And of their living

Kin.

My mother and father

Taught their children

To participate

And contribute

And improve 

Our communities.

I relish the gifts

My mother

Continues

To share with me

That inspire me

Each day.

You don’t need

Me to alert you

To those who

Would rather

Spoil our capacity

To live safely

Than limit

The possibility of 

One less

Shooting.

Demand better.

Do something.

Anything.

Don’t expect

Someone else

To contribute

Or sign

Or call

Or protest

So it’s done.

Sorry to spoil

It for you,

But your inaction

Is complicity.

Just like 

Thoughts

And

Prayers. 

At least 

For Mothers’ Day

Please do something

To contribute

To stopping

The current

Insanity

Killing us

Daily

While expressing

Condolences.

Nothing to See, Hear

Nothing to see,

Hear,

Just keep

Going.

We’ve got

This

Under 

Control.

Over controlled

Girls

And Women

Suffer alone

While we

Await

The next

Mass shooting.

Nothing to see,

Hear,

Or do,

When it’s legal.

Here 

The law

Is

Evil.

Personhood

Is claimed

For cells

And corporations

But 

A fetus

Is not exempt

To the IRS.

Nothing to see,

Hear,

But potential

Through ultrasound.

Yet potential

To massacre

With each

Purchase

Is abided

Because

It is

Legal.

We are

Not

Blind

Or Deaf

Just hostages

Of Prayers

And 

The 18th Century.

Not known

For nuance

Or complexity

But purity,

Our reality

Is 

Complicated

By myths

And systems

That feign

Deliberation

And calibration.

Yet absolutism

Is our DNA–
From Puritans

To Purell.

Unintended 

Consequences

Are nothing

To see here.

Litmus Test

 

 A guy shoots up a newsroom, killing 5 journalists. President says nothing in response to event or to reporters’ questions following the incident. That night, the video of  the President silently walking past reporters, ignoring their questions about the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, was aired on tv and social media. A long day later, he stated that “journalists shouldn’t have to be fearful of being attacked while doing their jobs”. But  to Trump, journalists are “the enemy of the people”.  

So, another mass shooting that couldn’t be prevented, because how could we possibly stop the outlier? Each time? Beforehand?  We could arm teachers! Where are those good guys with guns? 

This is a reflection of our culture and politics. We live in danger of being shot anywhere because we won’t regulate lethal weaponry and have poor mental healthcare. Guns are considered masculine, even when women use them. They are the ultimate symbol of American individualism and self sufficiency. They are said to be for protection, but they are for killing (or injuring) full human  (and other) beings. They are meant to cause suffering and fear.

Even those who want to see loopholes closed, better screening , and better mental healthcare across the country, understand that there is a cultural affinity for guns, legitimized by the Second Amendment. 

Why, then, has abortion become the litmus test of our culture and politics? Why has Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion, always seemed dispensable ? The “Right to Life” is only valid as a potential life, but not once born—an actual life? Many like to mock the Clintons’ stance that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare”, because, well, Hilary said that. The circumstance of pregnancy is unique. But it does include women’s health, and I do think abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.

 Abortion is not some newfangled cultural phenomena that began with The Feminine Mystique. Abortions have always existed, and have been dangerous (and criminal) until I was 10. But the cultural zeal and singular voting issue that has overridden everything in my lifetime has been the issue of abortion. 

Physicians have been shot (and killed) over the idea of getting rid of Roe v Wade, thereby criminalizing abortions (and OBGYNs who might perform the procedure). Right to life?

The President of Trumpistan understands that putting an anti-abortion judge on The Supreme Court will keep his base applauding, and his congressional lackeys collecting contributions. The ridiculous argument that gets put forward that it should be a states’ rights issue, not a federal one, sticks because it is an effective political move to limit access in Red states. Culturally and politically, the so-called “Right to Lifers” have all but eradicated the legality of early termination of a pregnancy, while opening up the floodgates for more semiautomatic weaponry without restrictions on use. 

Sure, there are several issues that delineate the views of the Supreme Court, but none are as contentious as Roe v Wade. Not even guns. We have deluded ourselves across our culture and politics into accepting certain rights as necessary for freedom and, ironically, life, and others as oppressive. Moreover, we have been so divided and hateful over this issue. We have so little room for accepting differing concepts, or compromising. 

Abortion is the issue that most are concerned about now that Kennedy is stepping down from the high court. Shouldn’t we be talking more about the mass murder at a newsroom? 

Dismissal

Hasn’t it all been said already? The Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday killing 17, shot another round through the heart of America.

While I was getting ready for my Valentine’s Day dinner, a celebration of love and romance, the news was on with interviews with a teacher, students, the superintendent, doctors, and police. I had to leave the room. I had heard the initial reports and interviews a bit earlier, and the rehashing and inevitable platitudes and explanations were nauseating.

I heard the police chief urge, “If you see something, say something.” The heat of anger began to pulse through my arteries. If only people had said something? That was it?

I thought about the timing of this unspeakable act of terror in a school not far from where I lived until a couple months ago. The shooting rampage began near the end of the school day. I thought about the shooter’s’ plan: As kids would be getting ready for dismissal, on an especially social day, Valentine’s Day, the shooter could exact revenge for his own misery.

We have a gun problem in America. But that gets dismissed. We have a violence problem in America. But that gets dismissed. We have a mental health problem in America. But that gets dismissed. We have an education problem in America. But that gets dismissed. We have an economic disparity problem in America. But that gets dismissed. We have a Culture problem in America. But that gets dismissed. And we have a grave political problem in America that too many try to dismiss.

If your heart is heavy, as is mine, don’t dismiss the love you feel. Don’t dismiss the possibility you can envision. And don’t dismiss the reality of misery, violence, access to weapons, political cowardice, and the consequences—intended or otherwise—of dismissal.

Daddy Issues

 

El Papa issues an encyclical on the environment and our shared responsibility. He acknowledges human contribution to global warming in recent decades, and advocates ways in which we can tend to that (and those) which we have neglected. With poetry and prose, and scientific backing, he sternly urges all people to pay attention to “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for us all.” His assessment continues with connecting the environmental crisis to human and social degradation, as the poorest suffer the most. Beyond vanishing coral reefs and other plant and animal species, we are creating unhealthy and unsustainable conditions for our own species. El Papa urges conscientious actions and transforming our lifestyles toward environmental stewardship and being responsible to our entire world of humans and other animal and plant species.

 

Jeb! issues a statement in response to the (leaked) encyclical, “I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.” Bush, a devout Catholic, says that religion “ought to be about making us better as people, less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”

 

REALLY???? Isn’t the Pope encouraging all people to be better, through attention and care of the earth and each other? El Papa’s message is a moral message for everyone. And yes, it has profound economic implications that have been ignored for too long, and we are beginning to reap the consequences.

 

Jeb!’s response seems rather rich from the guy who, as governor, intervened in the Terri Schiavo case, deciding that Schiavo’s feeding tube should be reinstated, appeasing so-called pro-life supporters. Just 2 days ago, on the heels of issuing his response to The Pope’s encyclical, Jeb! proudly reminded an audience at the Faith and Freedom conference of his role in the Terri Schiavo case saying that he “stood on the side of Terri Schiavo.” (Except, of course, he stood on the side of her parents and others—not on the side of Terri Schiavo or her desperate husband.)

 

While Jeb! issues statements on issues that, at best, don’t inspire, he seems to have an issue with his name. He has replaced Bush with ! Although seeming to distinguish himself more from his brother than from his father, he is struggling to find a way to be the one to move us forward.

 

Of course, the two issues that blindside us each time they occur (and they occur with frequency) are murdering innocents and racism. This time they converge. The massacre is in a church—The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Dylan Roof, 21, sits among members of a Bible study group in the historic black church, and after about an hour, opens fire, killing 9 members, including the pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pichney. It is soon revealed that Roof espouses racist views of so-called white supremacy. He is arrested for this hate crime and charged in the killings.

 

We have been struggling with these issues of seemingly out of control violence, especially gun violence against innocents—sometimes singular, sometimes massacres, and we have been seeing racism especially as it pertains to law enforcement. These issues of extreme violence, especially with guns, and racism—perhaps more insidious than in previous generations—continue to cause profound disturbances and grief, yet little action beyond social media attention.
We may celebrate the work and wisdom of our fathers today, and acknowledge how much they have given us, but each generation must also forge ahead, and see what isn’t working and face it and change it. The Pope has shown us that we can use our knowledge and wisdom and character (as well as spiritual life) to better our world and restore ecosystems. We can affect our environment. We can change the climate. Literally and figuratively.

 

We won’t be able to prevent every disaster—natural or human, but we can do more. We can change gun laws, and how we deal with psychological and social ills. We can be conscientious. We can take down flags that are remnants of racist history, that have no place in the 21st century.

 

We can celebrate our dads by practicing what the great dads teach—that actions (and inactions) have consequences—intended and unintended. We have issues to address. This Father’s Day, embrace your father, and El Papa’s message to us to take conscientious actions to better our world.

Happy Father’s Day!