Some days it’s hard not to be discouraged about the state of things. Does anyone else sense that we’re at a terrible impasse? Kind of crux, a turning point, where we’re either going to gather ourselves up and figure out some real solutions to our problems or devolve into something worse than anarchy?
It’s disheartening to hear news reports about mass shootings in churches and trucks driven through crowds on an almost daily basis. And everyone seems to have his or her pet peeve on which we take sides and determine THIS, THIS ONE THING, is the sole cause of all our woes, whether it’s “happy holidays” vs. “merry Christmas” or illegal drugs, or illegal immigrants, or kneeling football players, or porkbarrel waste in Washington, or… you can fill in the blank with whatever it is that’s got you offended.
Unfortunately, none of the blustering and blathering is accomplishing anything. It’s all just a lot of hot air. When are we going to calm down and actually start developing real, workable solutions?
You may recall the Dr. Seuss story of the North-Going Zax and the South-Going Zax from “Seuss on the Loose.” These creatures who dwell in the Prairie of Prax are stubborn. So stubborn they refuse to go in any direction other than their assigned directions (like conservatives and liberals, perhaps?). In the book, when the South-Going Zax runs into the North-Going Zax, they’re stuck. They cannot compromise, they cannot solve their problem because they are too stubborn to adapt, to change, or even to see another way, and the world goes on around them, leaving them behind.
Is that where we’re heading as a nation? Are we becoming a nation of Zaxes, stuck in opposition to one another? I hope not. I hope rational, reasonable minds will find the courage to crawl out from behind the rocks where they’ve been hiding from the mud-slinging. If this was an episode of Star Trek (the original series) it’s about to the point in the storyline where Spock steps up, to everyone’s relief, and overrides Captain Kirk’s emotional outbursts and machismo with logic in order to save the Starship Enterprise. Where are the Spocks of our generation?
It’s easy to criticize the offering of “thoughts and prayers” in times of grief and sorrow, but thoughts and prayers are powerful things. At the same time, I think we all know those thoughts and prayers must be accompanied by action. In the words of Pope Francis, “You pray for the hungry, then you feed them.” The same applies to any situation to which we respond, “I’m praying for you” or “sending positive energy” or “healing thoughts” or whatever words we use to express holding someone in our hearts. The next statement should be something along the lines of, “What can I do to help right now?”
We can lower flags, we can Tweet or post memes to Facebook, we can hold prayer vigils. All good things. But at some point we’re going to have to actually figure out what can be done—without violating the precepts of our Constitution—to prevent angry, unhappy individuals from murdering dozens of people in less than 10 minutes with an automatic weapon. It’s obvious that whatever we’re doing (or not doing) now isn’t working.
This week we offer gratitude to our nation’s veterans for their service. Veterans Day is Saturday, Nov. 11. Remember to thank a veteran you know, and the next time you have a vote in an election, vote for the legislators with a proven track record of promoting quality care for our veterans when they come home.
Good luck to the Meeker and Rangely volleyball teams in their bids for a state championship this weekend, and to the Meeker Cowboys football team entering the second round of playoffs in their quest for a second chance at that state championship trophy.