Remembering January 6th!

To say I am a tv junkie, would be an understatement. When my parents brought in the first black & white television home, I was sitting right there. Cartoon shows galore; along with action heroes and adventure shows. And of course, comedies!

But there was time, when the tv showed events that were not funny. Winter storms, and hurricanes, and the damage they wrought! Then there was the assassination of a President; the killing of a civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. A bloody war in an Asian country. The death of another Kennedy; shot by a gunman. Riots, protesters, violence, all shown on the glowing tube.

But nothing prepared me for the sight of rioters charging up the steps of the. Capital Building! What was even more disconcerting, was the number of watchers who were supporting the rioters, egging them on! People were in danger of losing their lives! People were injured! People died! Yet, there were politicians and pundits trying to make political gain out of this violence!

Now is the time for a deep introspection of us as a country. Why are so many people so intensely suspicious of government, politicians, contrary news reports coming over cable and the web! The country appears to be tearing itself apart! Why!

There will be different answers, coming from different sources, to this question. But at the very least there has to be a frank and honest dialogue between citizens. An openness to at least try to hear what the other side is saying; and what circumstances are driving it. If we cannot agree on what concerns have validity; what we can address and come to mutual agreed upon solutions; the country is in real trouble.

As a Catholic Christian, I firmly believe in the teaching that we are called on to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To come together as a people; this is the great challenge we have always had as a nation. This is a challenge we may or may not be able to meet; but we must try. “…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” From Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address.

A Nation In Mourning….Again!

To quote Thomas Paine, “These are times that try men (and women) souls.” We have experienced once again the horrors of mass shootings, in El Paso TX, and Dayton, OH. It should shake everyone’s being down to their souls. No other country, that is not at war or in civil strife, has suffered the casualties we have in the United States, from gun violence. People from around the world cannot understand how a country, so modern, like the United States, can let this bloodletting continue.

The answer is both simple and complicated. There are those in this country who feel they are losing control of it. That immigrants and of other races are taking what was once theirs; jobs, control of local governments. They see government, especially the Federal government taking away their lands, their jobs, for protection of the environment. They see gun ownership as the only means to protect what they see as their rights. This might only express some of the reasons why the country is so full of hate, so divided; and why some feel driven to pick up the gun.

But Jesus has said, “All who take the sword will die by the sword.” (MT 26:52). What is called for are laws to remove or at least control access to military style weapons. There also must be dialogue between peoples, to understand the desires, the needs, and the fears of all sides. We need a responsible government, whose goals are to preserve the general welfare, and not their own political power.

Jesus said that the primary commandment for his followers was to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. The second important commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. The challenge of these two commandments have always been before us. Never before in our society’s history, had meeting that challenge been so important!