Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tragic Absurdity

The absurdity that we have witnessed since the brutal and senseless violence in Arizona last Saturday provides a sad commentary to where we are as a society.  Nearly forgotten in the verbal sparring has been those who died and were wounded by the obviously deranged gunman.

Those on the left have accused the right of causing the shootings through their continual criticism of the liberal point of view in the American body politic.  Those on the right have risen up against these accusations, pointing out the hypocrisy of the left in that the left has a long history of vitriolic language itself.

The liberal argument holds no water whatsoever.  The actions of the would-be assassin had nothing to do with the political tenor in this country.  Here was an obviously mentally disturbed individual whose mental illness went unchecked for years only to bubble up in violence last weekend.  The chances that he was inspired somehow to go on a killing spree through right wing media types like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are nothing.  He acted in such a violent way because of the mental illness that undoubtedly has plagued him for years.

We need to slow down and take a deep breath and understand what we are doing to ourselves.  We have already cheapened life through the legalization of abortion.  Stem cells extracted from human embryos after those embryos have been destroyed has placed one group of human beings (those born) over those who have yet to be born.  We need to see that we have chosen a route where human life is concerned that degrades and devalues human life.

What caused last Saturday's savage attack on those gathered in the parking lot of a Safeway supermarket?  I am not qualified to answer that but I can say that our callous disregard for the marginalized in society, those who are homeless, mentally ill, and those who have been lost, contributed far more to the violence than did the tone of the political debate in this country.

We have turned our backs on God for any number of reasons.  When we do this as a society, we lose our compass.  We drift.  There is no truth.  There is no anchor.  Right and wrong become relative and each person lives out their own version of right and wrong whether or not it agrees with other versions.  We are not connected to each other as we once were.  Oh, we do have the Internet with facebook and twitter and the like.  But is this really being connected.  No!  We cannot be connected merely through a computer keyboard!  To be connected we must have personal relationships based upon reality.

The gunman in Arizona was clearly marginalized.  He was detached from the rest of society as a result of his mental illness.  His writings reveal a mind that is incapable of putting together coherent thoughts.  He became anti-social and apparently fixated with the congresswoman he tried to kill.  In his savage outrage, he revealed his complete disregard by indiscriminately shooting so many others, killing six including a nine year old little girl.

It is time for the right and the left to just shut up about which side caused this horrible tragedy.  Rather than putting all this energy into these arguments, they need to focus their talents and abilities in solving the problems that led to an ugly scene such as was played out in Tucson.  If we fail to address these problems in a mature and honest way, another Tucson waits in the wings.  How many more people will have to die in senseless violence before our leaders disengage the childish finger pointing that we have seen this week.  I for one am disgusted with both sides and pray that the adults among our leaders (if there are any!) come to the surface and lead us to a healing that we are so desperately in need of. 

Look into the eyes of little Christina Greene at the top of this piece and see the future ended by this horrible act of violence.  When this picture was taken this little girl was filled with life, with hope, with the sheer joy of being alive.  Now she is dead, living forever in the arms of the Creator.  As you look into her eyes, ask yourself: is the dialogue that we are witnessing in the public arena worthy of this young and innocent victim?  We must honor her memory and those of the other five who died that day with dialogue that honors them and brings back this country and society from the brink of self-destruction.