Greetings, Gentle Readers...
I know it's been a while since last we spoke. However, the happenings of this day have struck every one of us deep in our hearts and I found myself asking the same questions everyone else was asking. I know that politics can wait. This is a time of tremendous sorrow. But there are some things rumbling around in that head of mine that I simply must share. Please bear with me.
There is no excuse for the horrible things we've seen this day. From the children of Connecticut to those of China, we have realized all too well that we are not immune from tragedy. Regrettably, we see every day the results from the devolving of our lives and our societies. So what of that?
First, let me be honest about some things. I am a liberal Democrat. I would guess you could figure that out from the introduction on the blog. But I am also a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I'm the oxymoron between wanting progress with responsibility and wanting to find the culture of integrity we all used to enjoy. One would think I would be screaming "gun control!" I am not. But I do have some ideas on the subject to share. I hope you will be patient and thoughtful and consider what I submit to you.
Alright, let's get into the meat of the matter.
Let's address the 2nd Amendment. While I fully support the right to bear arms, I see absolutely no need for individuals to have access to what we would consider assault weapons. What in the world do we use them for with the exception of killing people...purposely? These are weapons for war - not for the neighborhood. You say we are in a war in our cities? Maybe so, but the easy access to these weapons has allowed the mass killings we have seen. You may disagree, but if one reflects on the past one will see that violence has increased with the availability of these weapons. I say YES to the 2nd Amendment but NO to assault weapons.
Next let's address morality. Someone once told me you cannot legislate morality. We sure keep on trying! We have laws upon laws to address laws that need no more laws. Let me explain. Is murder against the law? Yep, it is. So why do we need laws beyond that? We don't. Killing is killing. However, there is an issue with morality that must be addressed. It is something about which we need to have a national discussion...a very serious discussion.
Our parents and grandparents (if you are of a certain age - lol) lived in integrity and civility. There was discretion in things they said (or didn't say). If they were incorrect, they owned up and accepted the consequences. People and property were treated with respect. I once watched my father walk away from a job because he refused to lie: to "fudge" numbers to increase sales and oversell his customers. His integrity was worth more than a paycheck. We no longer have that kind of integrity. All things are are responded to based on situation. Our moral absolutes no longer apply. We no longer respect life. We no longer respect other's opinions. We no longer respect other's property.
So from where has this come? I have an opinion, of course, and it may not be a popular one. But it is one which I believe history bears and proves.
Let's go back to the late 50s. The wars were over and we were feeling triumphant. We were, dare I say, feeling carefree!
On come the 60s. Our nation was looking forward. And in what seemed like just a moment, we saw the assassination of two Kennedy brothers. People who were thrilled that we were heading toward a break in the fight against inequality were devastated. Then the Vietnam conflict expanded. We saw our sons (and in many cases our daughters) being brought home en masse in boxes. One of those carried my Marine uncle. Then there was Kent State and our young people started to become disenfranchised, disenchanted, and disassociated from society. We watched the fall of Nixon. The recession of the 70s hit us hard. Our people were captured and tortured for well over a year. We turned on those returning from Vietnam. Society was in an uproar.
We had entered the "me" generation. And we forgot our fellow humankind and sought only to gratify self.
Let me interject here that this is where the religion argument enters. There are those Christians who would say this is because we "threw God out of our classrooms." I beg to differ. It is because we threw away the morals of our forebears. It is because we sought self-gratification and did no longer care about the greater good. It was that greater good that made us a great nation. And that does not matter if you are Christian, Jew, Pagan or rich or poor. What mattered then was the greater good of an entire nation, of your neighbor, of your fellow humankind. One does not have to be religious to have morals. (Some of the most immoral folks I've met have flouted their religion only to fail the test of humanity.)
So where does that place us now? Now we have the internet and access to things that two generations ago we would have found not only distasteful but violent. Our kids play horrid internet games that those of our previous generations could never have imagined would be so full of violence. We have access to thousands of television stations which play 24 hours a day things which no human should consider normal viewing. We are inundated with blood and guts. Why do we not see that those things affect us and affect our children. We no longer have filters that tell us what is appropriate for us and for our children. Those filters of integrity, character, morality, and common courtesy and decency no longer exist in much of the country.
So do we need to change some laws? Yes, I believe we do. But even more than that, I think we need to return to human decency. We need to take back our lives and our children's lives. We need to let those powers that be know we aren't going to accept indecency anymore. I know I sound like I believe in censorship. No. I believe in self-control. I believe in standing up for what is right. I believe in caring about those around me. And I believe we start all of this AT HOME. It's time for mothers and fathers to be role models instead of absentees with latch-key kids.
I believe it's time to set limits and make priorities and STICK TO THEM. I believe in America...the America for which our fathers and grandfathers gave their lives to protect.
It's time to demand humankindness in all things. Now, who's with me?