?

Log in

Now reading

Well, f*ck you too, Clint

And this is another warning about how you should be wary of taking political advice that comes from the mouths of celebrities - even ones you admire, despite their politics.

You can read the meat of the mess via the link above, but this stretch of Mr. Eastwood's Wild Ride seems to be an object lesson in not how to articulate a thought:

ESQ: What do you think Trump is onto?

CE: What Trump is onto is he’s just saying what’s on his mind. And sometimes it’s not so good. And sometimes it’s … I mean, I can understand where he’s coming from, but I don’t always agree with it.

ESQ: So you’re not endorsing him?

CE: I haven’t endorsed anybody. I haven’t talked to Trump. I haven’t talked to anybody. You know, he’s a racist now because he’s talked about this judge. And yeah, it’s a dumb thing to say. I mean, to predicate your opinion on the fact that the guy was born to Mexican parents or something. He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides. But everybody—the press and everybody’s going, “Oh, well, that’s racist,” and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.

No offense to Clint - no, really - but the only reason why Candidate Stoathead decided to go after that judge is because that judge had both the misfortune to be involved in his Trump "University" case and because there is a very large network of Stoathead supporters who are, and will continue to be, screaming card-carrying racists. So they got to hear the dog whistle loud and clear because he's of Mexican descent. Never mind the little fact that he was born and raised in the US and is therefore this thing called an "American citizen" as a result; that's not what matters in the odd little universe populated by certain Trump supporters - Gonzalo Curiel's background is.

Then again, look at this way: Clint Eastwood is 86 years old. His complaints about Today's Youth (and consider that there's been roughly 3 intervening generations since he was born, so that's some sample size you've got, there) being overly sensitive and blah blah blah are probably not much different than what he heard from some (but not all) members of the generation that preceded his when he was a teenager in the late 40's and they'll probably be no different from the ones coming out of the mouths of some (but not all) millennials some twenty to thirty years after they've had kids. The problem is this: every generation looks down on their successors as somehow being either morally weaker or less courageous than they were, and it's all bullshit. Because that canard keeps getting repeated over and over again. Younger generations just have a different set of problems than previous ones. You can still get killed over essentially nothing if you're 25 now just as you could've bought the farm over trivial shit like your ethnic background or the color of your skin way back in 1946. What's different is that we think we know better. Or should.

As for Eastwood, well, he was a genius as an actor and director. No doubt about it. But that's as far as his genius goes. Looking for deep political insight from an actor is about as bright as asking a ballet dancer about their deep thoughts on quantum physics (or worse yet, asking another actor about what causes autism), but we spend an absurd amount of time giving a shit about their opinions due to the fact that they're! Really! FAMOUS! And being famous means that you have to have equally famous opinions, right?

Not really. And it'll be a sign of genuine societal maturity if people finally realize that fact.

Signal boost to the Washington Post editorial "Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy":

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement. In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.

Why are we so sure? Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. That experiment turned out pretty well — but Mr. Trump, to put it mildly, is no Dwight David Eisenhower. Leading the Allied campaign to liberate Europe from the Nazis required strategic and political skills of the first order, and Eisenhower — though he liked to emphasize his common touch as he faced the intellectual Democrat Adlai Stevenson — was shrewd, diligent, humble and thoughtful.

In contrast, there is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington. He was staked in the family business by a well-to-do father and has pursued a career marked by some real estate successes, some failures and repeated episodes of saving his own hide while harming people who trusted him. Given his continuing refusal to release his tax returns, breaking with a long bipartisan tradition, it is only reasonable to assume there are aspects of his record even more discreditable than what we know.

The lack of experience might be overcome if Mr. Trump saw it as a handicap worth overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact.

Throughout the campaign, he has unspooled one lie after another — that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after 9/11, that his tax-cut plan would not worsen the deficit, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started — and when confronted with contrary evidence, he simply repeats the lie. It is impossible to know whether he convinces himself of his own untruths or knows that he is wrong and does not care. It is also difficult to know which trait would be more frightening in a commander in chief.

Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.

What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous. Allies are taking advantage of the United States. Immigrants are committing crimes and stealing jobs. Muslims hate America. In fact, Japan and South Korea are major contributors to an alliance that has preserved a peace of enormous benefit to Americans. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans and take jobs that no one else will. Muslims are the primary victims of Islamist terrorism, and Muslim Americans, including thousands who have served in the military, are as patriotic as anyone else.

The Trump litany of victimization has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated. They deserve a serious champion, and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr. Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories. He launched his campaign by accusing Mexico of sending rapists across the border, and similar hatefulness has surfaced numerous times in the year since.

In a dangerous world, Mr. Trump speaks blithely of abandoning NATO, encouraging more nations to obtain nuclear weapons and cozying up to dictators who in fact wish the United States nothing but harm. For eight years, Republicans have criticized President Obama for “apologizing” for America and for weakening alliances. Now they put forward a candidate who mimics the vilest propaganda of authoritarian adversaries about how terrible the United States is and how unfit it is to lecture others. He has made clear that he would drop allies without a second thought. The consequences to global security could be disastrous.

Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. When asked by a member of Congress about Article I, which enumerates congressional powers, the candidate responded, “I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.” The charter has seven articles.

Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies. The U.S. democratic system is strong and has proved resilient when it has been tested before. We have faith in it. But to elect Mr. Trump would be to knowingly subject it to threat.

Mr. Trump campaigns by insult and denigration, insinuation and wild accusation: Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; Hillary Clinton may be guilty of murder; Mr. Obama is a traitor who wants Muslims to attack. The Republican Party has moved the lunatic fringe onto center stage, with discourse that renders impossible the kind of substantive debate upon which any civil democracy depends.

Most responsible Republican leaders know all this to be true; that is why Mr. Trump had to rely so heavily on testimonials by relatives and employees during this week’s Republican convention. With one exception (Bob Dole), the living Republican presidents and presidential nominees of the past three decades all stayed away. But most current officeholders, even those who declared Mr. Trump to be an unthinkable choice only months ago, have lost the courage to speak out.

The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters. Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.

Schadenfreude: Tim LaHaye

I try not to wish death on anyone except the most deserving. And I'm not doing it here, either. But let's face it - you could find any number of public figures far more worth mourning than this guy and his penchant for being just plain wacko on any number of issues, millions of bad Rapture fiction novels sold or not.

Now reading

Starworld by Harry Harrison.

Do us all a favor: melt that statue

Just when you thought the Jerry Sandusky serial molestation debacle couldn't get any worse, this particular legal tidbit get revealed and causes yet another round of "how low can you go?" on the issue all over again:

In 2014, a man testified that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.

Four other former assistant football coaches at the school also were aware of Sandusky acting inappropriately with boys before law enforcement was first notified in 1998, according to testimony contained in the documents.

The allegations suggest that Paterno may have been made aware of Sandusky’s actions far earlier than has previously been reported, and that knowledge of Sandusky’s behavior may have been far more widespread among the Penn State football staff than previously known.

The Post article points out that former Paterno assistants Greg Schiano and Tom Bradley denied the allegations, but those denials really might not matter all that much to Paterno's already hideously tarnished reputation:

The 1976 victim, identified in court records as John Doe 150, said that while he was attending a football camp at Penn State, Sandusky touched him as he showered. Sandusky’s finger penetrated the boy’s rectum, Doe said, and the boy asked to speak with Paterno about it. Doe testified that he specifically told Paterno that Sandusky had sexually assaulted him, and Paterno ignored it.

“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?’ ” the man’s lawyer asked.

“Yes . . . I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted. . . . I said, is that all you’re going to do? You’re not going to do anything else?”

Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.

This isn't merely another dagger in Paterno's rep, though. It's also another reason to look askance at any collegiate sports program that puts its success ahead of keeping other athletes, students or even the general public safe from people like Sandusky or others who engage in criminal behavior and then get to walk away because of all the clichéd Big Man on Campus bullshit that's used to protect them even when caught red-handed. The only reason why Paterno and various other PSU functionaries allowed this to happen not merely for years but for decades is that they literally did not care about anything except winning. And that's nearly as disgusting as the actual crimes Sandusky committed.

I don't care how much money is thrown the way of NCAA programs by alumni, boosters or sports apparel companies these days; it won't save them from their worse enemy: namely, themselves. I'm now having trouble enjoying college football even when a program is apparently scandal-free, and I used to follow college sports a lot more closely than I do now. And if an AD or university president thinks that the general public is going to magically come forth and save their bacon when the next scandal erupts when even sports fans like me are getting completely sick of this shit, they're living in the same dream world where Paterno's supporters are apparently residing.

Comrades in arms. Very, very crazy arms.

It appears that the man with a Stoat on his head running for President has picked a very special snowflake to be a member of one of his advisory boards:

In case you might have worried that Donald Trump might not be getting top-notch policy advice, the Republican nominee released the names of his “Evangelical Advisory Board” Tuesday, and look who’s back in a position to influence American policy again! It’s Michele Bachmann, the goofy Jesus-addled former Minnesota congresswoman who retired from Congress in 2014 but never entirely left our awareness, almost like an especially bad childhood trauma.

Since leaving the House and the [*snicker!*] Intelligence Committee, Bachmann has occasionally popped up on our radar with her not-infrequent warnings of the impending End Times and thoughtful commentary on how terrorism is God’s way of getting back at Barack Obama. So now, as the wags at Raw Story put it, Bachmann “tops the list” of Donald Trump’s evangelical brain trust. It’s an alphabetical list. It’s also not clear what particular role Bachmann will fill. Possibly in exchange for her advice, Trump will do what he can to hasten the End Of Days.

Considering that this...this, uh...brain trust will also consist of the likes of James Dobson, Robert Jeffress and other very strange people extolling even stranger forms of Christianity, I have to wonder if this is an attempt to either win the general election by attracting as many likeminded weirdos as possible or an attempt to lose the general election by forcing every partially sane human being on the voter roles to vote for Hillary Clinton instead.

Bill Donohue's "ethics" in action

Okay, the title of this post could've been more subtle. But why? Subtlety seems to be completely uncalled for in this case, since his position on killing New York's Child Victims Act is completely unfathomable even for someone pretending to constantly defend his mother church from the Great Evil Unwashed - which would seem to be everyone else on the planet:

In a vitriolic message emailed to his supporters, Catholic League President Bill Donohue celebrated the defeat of the Child Victims Act that would have made it easier for kid sex abuse victims to seek justice.

"The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse, when, in fact, it was a sham,” Donohue wrote.

He blasted the legislation as ”a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”… (emphasis mine)

“If the statute of limitations were lifted on offenses involving the sexual abuse of minors, the only winners would be greedy and bigoted lawyers out to line their pockets in a rash of settlements,” Donohue railed. “The big losers would be the poor, about whom the attorneys and activists care little: When money is funneled from parishioners to lawyers, services to the needy suffer. “

He added that “the Catholic League is proud of its role in this victory.”

Now, you might think that calling a career wackjob who does this on a regular basis something unpleasant might suffice; but just hauling off and saying "what a turd" seems a bit insufficient. Instead, read the reply of one Stephen Jimenez:

Bill Donohue, the highly-paid spokesman and alleged Catholic who spews venom every time he slithers out of the den of thieves, says the Child Victims Act “failed” to make it to the floor of the Assembly last week because it was “a sham” and an attempt to “rape” the church.

I say “alleged” Catholic because Donohue’s contempt for child sex victims has nothing whatsoever in common with the gospel of truth and justice preached by Pope Francis - or the teachings of Jesus. I trust you, the readers, to decide for yourselves whether Mr. Donohue’s blasphemy has reached new levels of demagoguery.

Let’s start with who really committed RAPE and who the real victims. As a former altar boy who awakened before daybreak to serve daily Mass and who takes immense pride in my Catholic education at Georgetown, I’d like to provide some needed moral instruction about rape. My rape began when I was a 10-year-old boy in Brooklyn and ended shortly before I turned 14. I can’t count how many times I was abused sexually over those four years - in classrooms, coat rooms, locker rooms, steam rooms, swimming pools, showers stalls. But I do remember feeling extremely frightened when Brother Romanus, the man who raped me, took me into a locked changing room at Washington Baths on the boardwalk at Coney Island. Not once, but many times.

But even if he read that, would Donohue care?

Probably not. He's shown where his real interests lie.

He may not think it's a gutter, but it is.

So, then: in the wake of a horrible tragedy, you knew that the nuts would be coming out in force, right? And that their rhetoric would be especially disgusting in light of the fact that the 49 people killed were at an Orlando gay bar, right?

Sadly, you're not going to be disappointed in those beliefs.

"Pastor" Steven Anderson's opinion on the deaths in Orlando:

The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles. That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of, just, disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, okay?

But seriously, Steven, tell us how you really feel:

Now let me just be real clear: I’ve never advocated for violence. I don’t believe in, you know, taking the law into our own hands. I would never go in and shoot up a gay bar — so-called. I don’t believe it’s right for us to just be a vigilante… But I will say this: The Bible says that homosexuals should be put to death, in Leviticus 20:13. Obviously, it’s not right for somebody to just, you know, shoot up the place, because that’s not going through the proper channels. But these people all should have been killed, anyway, but they should have been killed through the proper channels, as in they should have been executed by a righteous government that would have tried them, convicted them, and saw them executed. Because, in Leviticus 20:13, God’s perfect law, he put the death penalty on murder, and he also put the death penalty on homosexuality. That’s what the Bible says, plain and simple.

How very Christian of him.

Then again, consider the equally loving, Christian response of one Roger Jimenez:

People say, like: ‘"Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died? Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me — what if you asked me: ​"Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?" Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight. ...the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!

Not to be outdone in the post-Orlando hate sweepstakes are the father and son nutjob team of Walid and Theodore Shoebat. First, Walid:

Instead of complementing us, the mocking liberal Jew Sam, Seder, says that we, not the Muslim “should be under watch”.

This is how the system from media to government repays Christian converts from Islam.

Who is laughing now Mr. Seder? Boy you are dumb and I can’t feel sorry for dumb Jews.

Even when we point a stupid Jew to Evangelical Christians, they too get angry since in their view a Jew can do no evil.

The whole culture is dumber than a nail.

Liberals and gays should all screw each other. Finally I could watch TV and could care less…

The only ones moaning over fifty gays slaughtered are liberals, idiots and gay lovers.

I suppose he gets extra credit for injecting some reflexive anti-Semitism into that screed, but not to worry - his son Theodore is not to be outdone:

The sodomites who were killed in this club were not innocent people. They were not good people. They were not people who were just victims who we should just feel sorry for. It was scum killing scum.

I don’t believe in vigilantism, but I do believe in the government killing the sodomites, I do believe in the government arresting the sodomites and executing them for homosexuality. Under my rule, that sodomite club in Orlando, it would have been destroyed, it would have been demolished, bulldozed and all the bastards in there would have been arrested, tried, found guilty for homosexuality and executed.

I'm sure everyone reading this finds all of this just charming.

Other rants by the likes of Pat Robertson and (just to make the Loony Tune pool more inclusive, ultra-Orthodox fanatic) Yosef Edery are just as wonderful, but it does makes you wonder precisely how people who claim to represent a religion of love and peace - just like ISIL does, of course - have the balls to publicize such utterly barbaric, homicidal views.

It's almost as if they're making every argument against organized religion for its opponents.

Which probably wasn't their intent, mind you, but never let it be said that a complete idiot can't sustain more damage to his cause in a mere five minutes than a well-armed opponent can in a hundred years.

(NOTE: normally I don't repost other people's work in toto, but John Scalzi's response to the mass shooting in Orlando definitely bears repeating.)

A man goes into an immigration services center in Binghamton New York, blocks the exit in the back with his car, goes through the front door with handguns, body armor and ammunition. He shoots the receptionists and opens fire on a citizenship class. He murders thirteen. This is horrific. I offer my thoughts and prayers.

A psychiatrist trained to help others with the stress of combat goes to Ft. Hood, the army base at which he is stationed, and opens fire on his fellow soldiers and some civilians, too. Another thirteen people are murdered there. Three are killed charging the shooter. Words cannot express my sorrow. I offer my thoughts and prayers.

A professor is denied tenure at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. She goes to a department faculty meeting and in that conference room pulls out a nine-millimeter handgun and shoots six people, three of whom she manages to murder. Those people were just doing their jobs and what happened to them is terrible. I don’t want to have to think about it any further. I offer my thoughts and prayers.

A truck driver in Manchester, Connecticut comes out of a company disciplinary hearing for allegedly stealing beer and starts shooting up his place of work. He murders eight people, calls his mother and tells her about it, and then shoots himself. Gun control discussions are a mess in this country and they never go anywhere productive, there’s no middle ground, and they make me tired thinking about them. I offer my thoughts and prayers.

In Tucson, Arizona, a member of Congress is meeting with her constituents in the parking lot of a supermarket, and a 22-year-old man comes up and shoots her straight in the head. A representative to Congress, can you believe that! She somehow survives, but he murders six others, ranging in age from nine to 79. That’s quite a range. Surely the attempted assassination of a US Representative will start a substantive discussion by someone. In the meantime, I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Seal Beach, California, where a man and a woman are having a custody dispute. His solution: Enter his wife’s place of work, a hair salon, and open fire on anyone there. He murders his ex-wife and seven other people, including one man not even in the salon. He is in his car in the parking lot outside the salon. Bad luck. Here’s an interesting thing: there is a sort of magical power to saying that you offer your thoughts and prayers.

Oakland, California, and at a small Christian college, a man who had been expelled for behavioral and anger management problems decides that he’s going to find an administrator he has issues with. He doesn’t find her, so instead grabs a secretary, enters a classroom and orders the students there to line against a wall. Some refuse. He shoots, reloads and shoots some more. Seven people are murdered. The shooter later says he’s sorry. The magical power of saying that you offer your thoughts and prayers is that once you do it, you’re not required to do anything other than to offer your thoughts and prayers.

In Aurora, Colorado, a midnight audience of Batman fans are half an hour into the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s superhero trilogy when a man enters the theater, clad in protective armor, sets off two gas canisters and starts shooting. Some audience members think this is a stunt tied into the film. It’s not a stunt, and the shooter, armed with an assault rife, a shotgun and a glock, murders a dozen people, ten of whom die right there in the theater. When police visit the shooter’s home, they find it rigged with explosives. The shooter placed a camera to record what happens if the police just barge in. Saying “thoughts and prayers” is performative, which is to say that just in saying it, you’ve performed an action. Prayers leave your mind and go to God. It is a blessed, holy and as such apparently sufficient thing, to offer your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday morning, and in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, members of the Sikh temple there have gathered for services and meditation and are preparing a communal meal when a white supremacist and Army veteran starts shooting, murdering six and wounding a police officer before killing himself. Did you know that Sikhs are often confused by the unknowing and possibly uncaring for being Muslim, and that the excuse of “I thought they were Muslims” is itself a sign of racial hatred? Mind you, there are people who will say to you that it’s not enough, only to offer your thoughts and prayers.

In Minneapolis, a man is called into an office by his supervisor and told he is losing his job. The man replies, “Oh, really?” and pulls out a handgun, shooting the supervisor after a struggle for the weapon, eventually murdering five others before killing himself. Indeed, people particularly expect more from lawmakers, who have the ability to call hearings and allow government studies and even change laws, rather than only to offer their thoughts and prayers.

Brookfield, Wisconsin, another hair salon, another estranged couple. The wife seeks a restraining order when the husband threatens to burn her with acid and set her on fire with gasoline. He does neither. He does, however, murder her, along with two other women. Witnesses say the wife tried to protect the others before she died. But again, even if you’re a lawmaker, with the ability to do things that could have concrete impact, you might argue that your responsibility to women being murdered by husbands, workers murdered by co-workers, religious minorities murdered by bigots, soldiers murdered by other soldiers, innocents murdered by those who are not, ends when you, in a tweet, Facebook post or press release, offer your thoughts and prayers.

A man enters an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S carbine rifle, murders twenty children, all of whom are either six or seven years old.

We pause here a moment to think about that.

Twenty children. Ages six, or seven.

And here maybe you think to yourself, this is it. This is the place and time where thoughts and prayers in fact aren’t enough, where those who only offer their thoughts and prayers recognize that others see them in their inaction, see that the convenient self-absolution of thoughts and prayers, that the magical abnegation thoughts and prayers offer, is no longer sufficient, is no longer proper, is no longer just or moral, or even offers the appearance of morality.

We pause here a moment, and wait to see what happens next.

And then they come. One after another.

I offer my thoughts and prayers.

And it keeps going.

Five murdered in Santa Monica, California by a gunman. I offer my thoughts and prayers.

12 murdered in a running firefight through the Washington Navy Yard in DC. Like a ritual, I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Ft. Hood, Texas again, for another three murdered. Like a litany, I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Six murdered in Isla Vista, California. Violence against women is horrible, and I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Nine murdered in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s unspeakable that violence against black Americans has happened like this, and I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Five murdered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Muslims should answer for the crimes of this person, even if they do not know him or would in any way condone the action, and I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Nine murdered in Roseburg, Oregon. I offer my thoughts and prayers.

Three murdered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Thoughts and prayers.

Fourteen murdered in San Bernadino. Thoughts. Prayers.

Fifty murdered in Orlando.

Fifty people, in a gay club, by a shooter who his father says was disgusted by the sight of two men kissing, and who news reports now tell us had pledged allegiance to ISIS.

And what do we do now, I wonder, when the victims are who they are and the perpetrator is who he is, the situation is ripe for posturing, and there’s a phrase to be used that allows one to assert maximum public virtue with minimum personal effort or responsibility?

What do we do now, when thoughts and prayers are easy, and everything else is hard?

Here is the thing: In the aftermath of terrible violence, offer thoughts, and prayers, if it is your desire to do so.

Then offer more than thoughts and prayers. Ask for more than thoughts and prayers. Vote for more than thoughts and prayers. Help those for whom thoughts and prayers are the start of their responsibilities, not the abdication of them. And as for the others, you may politely remind them of Matthew 6:5-6, and perhaps also Matthew 7:21-23. Perhaps they will see themselves in the words there. Perhaps not. They’re worth thinking on regardless.

“I offer my thoughts and prayers.”

Thank you.

It’s not enough.

It never was.

What more do you have to offer?

(From Whatever, June 12th, 2016.)

Tags: