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.