Fandango’s Provocative Question #114 – This, That, and The Other (fivedotoh.com)
Do you think that there is any chance that the U.S. Congress will ever take decisive, bipartisan action to pass and enact nationwide common sense gun laws to try and stem the tide of mass shootings, or is the best that the American Congress will ever do is to send thoughts and prayers to the families of loved ones killed in mass shooting incidents?
As Melanie pointed out in her response, sometimes all any of us can do is pray, so let’s not knock that. That said, sometimes prayer reveals that we’re not actually powerless.
I pray a lot. So did one of my favorite religious leaders: Martin Luther King Jr. He prayerfully believed in not “just praying.” Like I imagine his must have been, my prayer life tends to be a bit less one-sided than I would like at times. I pray for something like the peace of family members who lost a loved one to gun violence. Next thing you know, God looks at me like, Anne, you know the human race could actually do something about that, so why are you all asking me? These people weren’t killed by magical divine power. They were killed by other people. With guns.
I know where prayer led men like Martin Luther King Jr and other brave, if imperfect, people. We pay him and others like him a lot of lip service, preferably after they’re dead and can’t tell us to our faces how wrong we are about how we’re acting. Speaking of gun control, a quick Internet search tells me MLK was shot to death by a white guy, a criminal who bought the rifle from a store with no waiting period or background check on his made up name.
I think most of us know (and cringe at the thought) that lobbyists paid by big corporations run a large part of the US government by bribing our leaders and politicians so well, it is almost impossible to not accept bribes and still win. It is public knowledge that the NRA and the gun industry bribe politicians with financial campaign contributions and public support and God knows what else NOT to pass gun laws which would affect their profits. No one makes large amounts of money from safer gun laws, so … you can see the problem.
Any discussion of gun laws that doesn’t mention this is like not mentioning water while talking about the ocean.
When you start to think things like “there is no hope,” okay! Nowhere to go but up then, right? If we can resist the urge to despair, there might be a possibility we can turn things around. Not just for better gun laws but for politicians moved by the will of the people. And I don’t mean Republican or Democrat, pro or against this specific gun law. I mean competent people with integrity. People who look enough like actual people that we don’t cringe in the ballot box as a part of our soul dies when we hit Vote. I wish there were some way to make that a basic criteria of running for office.
How about …. election reforms that move in the opposite direction from disenfranchising voters. Or, passing laws to limit the ability of corporate lobbyists to run the government from the not so secret shadows. Crazy things like that.
One of the reasons the “other side” wants us to feel like it doesn’t matter what we do is that they would rather we vote for politicians who will support their interests. Not voting at all works too. Does it really matter who is in charge when they all suck?
Anarchy is NOT a life plan. Sociologists know, and will happily explain if you linger around one for too long, that anarchy really only works for very small groups of people who get along very well.
Shame on anyone who claims to honor MLK but thinks voting and the government we have does not matter. He might still be alive if he were content to be that naive. I am not kidding. Cut it out. His memory deserves better than that kind of lazy thinking.
Yes, it is of course in the realm of possibility that Congress will pass such laws. Will they? Well that depends.
Like Barack Obama, a previous president of the U.S. who I didn’t vote for in either election, by the way because reasons. But like Obama, I have The Audacity to Hope for something better. What that even looks like at this point, who knows?
I will say this about fighting for the right thing. I will say this about the virtue of hope. We may not win. But I bet we’ll feel a bit less embarrassed when it comes time to meet our Maker and explain what we were doing with our time.
So, there’s always that.
6 thoughts on “FPQ: The Audacity of Hope”
I came over to read your words because…well…Mel did and said I should. I actually listen to her. Can I please clone you? And send you to OKC to speak to the idiots in office? They sometimes listen to rational words.
LOL. That would be fun. I mean the cloning part. Also any kind of travel right now TBH. As for rational words and listening, that would be nice. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
Thank you Anne! This was a STUNNING post, so well written! God does ‘hear’ and it pays for people to remember that sometimes He answers “No” to what we’re praying for. To teach us or give us experiences that we need. I loved the sentence “competent people with integrity”. I have great hope that such folks will step forward in upcoming elections in the future. However, someone (I forget who) also pointed out that such people do probably run and are not chosen by the bigger parties precisely because they do have integrity and can’t be bought. It’s a mess. I wonder what the original founders of our nation would think of today’s leaders. Have a great day and thank you for taking my thoughts a wonderful step further!
God may hear prayer, but God also gave humans free will. This is a human-created problem and must be solved by us. I do pray, and when I do it comforts me. But I don’t pray to God for better gun control laws. I write to my representatives in Congress (although they are all liberal Democrats). I support organizations that are working to effect better gun safety laws. I protest in the street if necessary. Public pressure sometimes works. But no prayer right now is going to solve the gridlock in Congress and nothing will change unless that changes. Gun safety laws shouldn’t be a partisan issue but it has become one – even Covid-19 has been politicized! Our so-called democracy is very broken right now and if fundamental changes are not made, the people will have no voice. Georgia just passed a law supposedly to “reform” voting laws, but it was a reaction to the people of Georgia electing Democrats. They are making providing water to people standing in line a felony!! How is this solving the (non)problem of voting fraud??
I used to cry hearing about mass shootings. I still do cry about Sandy Hook. But every time there is a mass shooting, I mainly just get angry, really angry. And I feel somewhat powerless. I pray when I feel powerless, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
I have written my thoughts on this question at https://amoralegria.com/2021/03/26/fpq-114-gun-safety-vs-u-s-congress/ ..