The Problem We All Live With: Bearing Witness, but Never Finding Justice
We do not love ourselves. We have become cavalier with each other’s lives and we, as a nation, have not yet decided that we have reached the point where we will now practice willful and strategic eradication of the complex character that makes us an unloving society.
Let me be clear, the kind of love I am talking about is not romantic. It is a love forged out of the gospel call to dig deep into our innards and find the spaces of compassion sequestered there, to pull them out into our social and political lives to create a society that values the great diversity of folks that shape us into a nation. The kind of love we tend to practice is not this kind of love—it is hoarding. It is protecting what we have, protecting who we are, circling the wagons around our ideas and beliefs, failing to look up and out into the faces of the many-ness of this country.
So, once again, this sad state of hoarding and violence has coalesced. In the midst of the myriad injustices that make up everyday life for far too many of us and a world that is a spinning top of wars and its brother and sister forms of violence, the first anniversary of the Charleston massacre was marked by the blood of queer lives and the collateral damage done to their families and friends and the many of us who were horrified that someone would gun people down in cold blood for little reason beyond violent hatred and loathing.
We live in a time when the disregard for human lives in general is astoundingly sanctioned by a legal system that fails all of us when black and brown and native lives are taken and no one is responsible; when we recoil in horror at the massacre of 49 folk in Pulse Night Club who were LGBTQIA, but we cannot get Congress to enact common-sense gun control laws because of an overly zealous (and idiosyncratic) reading of the Second Amendment. This inept brand of politics has caused us to stumble into what has become a halting democracy rather than a vibrant one.