Category Archives: Democrats

The Myth of Tragedy

This week, a Congressman from Louisiana was shot by a deranged man (how else can you describe someone who did what he did). The heavily armed gunman stalked a group or Republicans practicing for a baseball game in an apparent attempt to make an obvious political comment. It was a tragedy in every sense of the word.

Shortly after the incident occurred, we began hearing that perhaps this tragedy will help bring us all together. A few thousand additional people showed up at the baseball game a few nights later, and a significant amount of money was raised, more than in the past. News stories were filled with calls for the need to come together.Tragedy

There has been a great deal of moaning about the dysfunction in politics and the sharp divide throughout the nation. Whenever a tragedy of any kind occurs, there is the notion that it will bring us back together.

That is a myth. Tragedies do not unify the country.

I realize you are going to remind me of the horrific tragedy of 9-11 and how the entire country came together. It appears we were united as a result, and all of us made the same commitment to make sure this never happens again.

However, I don’t think it was the tragedy that united us because that’s not what normally happens after a tragedy. Think about other tragedies that have occurred in the recent past.

  • Twenty young children were shot and killed at Sandy Hook.
  • A nightclub in Orlando was shot up, and forty-nine people died, and another fifty-eight were wounded.
  • Five police officers were killed and nine others wounded by a sniper in Dallas.

The full list is much longer. However, none of these events brought the country together. In fact, they did more to highlight our divide than they did to heal our separation. After each one of these incidents, people became more and more entrenched in their opinions about the causes and solutions for these events.

It seems to me that tragedies are ultimately divisive. When a tragedy occurs, it is important to assess blame, and we tend to place the blame on the basis of our preconceived notions. For example, when someone shoots and kills a group of people what do we do? We usually initiate a debate over gun control. When a police officer kills a young black man, what is the result? Often it is a race riot, and police supporters and minority spokespersons shout at each other while the rest of us pick sides.

If tragedies don’t unite us, what is the explanation for what happened after the horror of 9-11? We were united. We all agreed and were willing to accept tight restrictions on air travel. All of us were more watchful when we entered stadiums or gathered in large groups. We didn’t protest when they asked to search our bags. We all agreed that such measures were necessary.

However, it was not the tragedy that brought us together. It was the need for survival. We didn’t mind being searched before getting on a plane because we wanted to survive. Ok, go through my purse before allowing me into the stadium, because I don’t want to die.

The reason a heavily-armed crazy man shooting at a flock of congressmen doesn’t unite us is because it is not a threat to our survival. A police officer carelessly shooting a black teenager doesn’t unite us because most of us aren’t black, so we’re not worried about survival. It pains us to see dozens of deaths in a nightclub, but it doesn’t unite us because few of us will ever be seen in a gay nightclub. It’s not a threat to our survival.

We need to stop buying into the myth that someday a tragedy is going to unite our country. The sooner we accept this truth, the quicker we will get about the hard work, roll up our sleeves, sit down at the table with one another, and find the solutions to our divisions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

My Attempt to Offend Everyone

Since the middle of summer I have been suggesting that it is a good option to not vote for either candidate in this year’s presidential election. I have not changed my mind.

However, I have paid careful attention to the campaign for the past year and a half and I do have some observations to make. I will strive to be an equal opportunity offender so if you make it to the end of this article without being offended you might want to reread it because you might have missed something.

First, I have noticed there seems to be three groups of people who support Donald Trump. The first group, and perhaps the largest, is those who hate Hillary. This group has been organizing and planning for two decades, and I’ll be honest, I have never understood the hate and vitriol they possess. These folks will vote for anyone else but Hillary, regardless of the character, qualifications, or politics—Trump has proven that to be the case.

voting-boothThere is nothing that can be said or done to change their opinion. If God Himself wrote with his finger on the side of the Lincoln Memorial and told us to vote for Hillary, these people would not do it. The only way for these people to be happy is for Hillary to lose the election and disappear from public service. However, since it appears this is not going to happen, we are in for at least four more years (or possibly eight) of anger.

The second group of Trump supporters is those who tend to be single-issue voters and that issue is abortion. Trump is the only candidate who is opposed to abortion, although such was not the case just a few years ago. Their hope is that a pro-life President will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate abortion.

However, these folks need to put a little more thought into their position. It is time to reevaluate the idea that government and the legal system is going to solve the abortion issue. I wrote about this four years ago and you can read it here if you wish (nothing has changed). This is a complex issue that has been around a long time and there is no reason to believe that Donald Trump is going to contribute to clarity or resolution. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Voting

Why You Should Not Vote in the Presidential Election

Many years ago, my father was driving in the mountains of Colorado. As he rounded a corner, he was confronted with a large truck coming toward him in his lane. Apparently the truck was trying to pass another vehicle and stayed in the oncoming lane too long. My father reported that he was forced to decide between the lesser of two terrible options. He could smash the oncoming truck head on, or he could steer off the road and plummet down the side of the mountain. If you have ever driven in the Colorado mountains you are aware it is not like driving into the bar ditch in west Texas.

He chose the lesser of the two, and fortunately his car was halted by the pine trees about a hundred feet down the cliff. He lived to tell the story.

Sometimes life forces us to make a choice between two bad things, and the result is going to be unpleasant no matter what choice we make.

Many people are feeling that way about the upcoming presidential election—there is not a good choice. Approval ratings for both candidates are at historic lows, and are destined to get worse after five more months of name calling, mudslinging, and third grade behavior that is characteristic of this year’s campaign.DontVoteButton

Each candidate has a small hard-core group of voters who wave their flag obnoxiously high, but for the most part, you hear people say, “I could never vote for..,.” and they name one of the candidates. More people are voting against someone this year than the number of people who are voting for someone.

Much of the campaign rhetoric consists of saying, “if this person is elected terrible things will happen to our country.” I get it. We have two bad choices. I feel like my father must have felt as he steered his Buick over the edge of the cliff—he didn’t have a better choice.

But, we do have options. I’m not talking about a miraculous final month by Bernie Sanders, or an out-of-nowhere Republican savior. There are some legitimate options that keep us from being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

The most obvious option is that when you go to vote you will find other candidate’s names on the ballot. As of the first of June, 1,751 folks had filed the paperwork necessary to be considered a candidate for President. Obviously, you will not have to read through hundreds of names while in the voting booth since most of those people will have long departed the race, but there will be other names for consideration. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized