A Look On The Lighter Side: No light in this aftermath

A Look On The Lighter Side: No light in this aftermath

What can you say, when the events of the day leave you speechless? That, on top of a week that was already a travesty?

What can you say, when you turn to our nation’s leader, for some kind of solace or healing remark, and he implies that the cold-blooded massacring of your people was your own fault for not posting armed guards, around the clock, on every sanctuary of worship in the nation?

Never mind the sheer absurdity of saying that, while bearing in mind that trained, armed and bullet-proof-vest-wearing police and SWAT officers sustained four injuries after 11 people were murdered.

What kind of a country is okay with that?

The kind, I guess, that can see 20 little children and six of their teachers being slaughtered on a school day for no reason at all.

Or watch 58 people be slaughtered like video game targets while at a music festival, and another 850 injured. That’s almost a thousand innocent people. For no reason at all.

That might make sense in, say, Afghanistan, where tribal factions seem to have been killing each other since ever, with help from too many outsiders.

Or in Saudi Arabia, where cutting someone apart with a bone saw is apparently the logical conclusion of walking into that nation’s consulate and asking for paperwork to get married.

That might make sense in Israel, where a small country of Jews is indeed literally surrounded by nations full of people who hate them.

But this is the United States of America — where people supposedly pledge their allegiance, at the start of every school day and every civic meeting — to a symbol of “liberty and justice for all”:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one nation
under God
with liberty and justice for all.

For the past two years, I have wanted to end that pledge with “Amen,” because it feels less like a description or our country, every day, and more like a prayer.

Can that flag of liberty and justice be the same one that a mad bomber plastered all over his truck? In between pictures of people he hated enough to put crosshairs on and send bombs to?

Is this the same flag which our president professes to love, even as he stokes the hatred and fear which are coming home to roost and tearing us apart?

Barack Obama was elected president after declaring his belief that there are no red states or blue states, “only the United States of America.”

But recent events put the lie to that. It seems that the haters, in this country, are winning out. They are slaughtering the rest of us.

There is nothing funny or light or even encouraging that I can think of to say, about any of this.

I am reduced to prayer.

These words come to me from a faith tradition that is not my own, but which moves me nevertheless:

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.”

And from my own tradition, there is a prayer called “Hashkiveinu,” which is a prayer for rest:
Give us, oh God, a place to lie down in peace.
Shield us from hatred, sorrow and pain
Save us, for the sake of your name
Defend us from wrongdoing,
And guide us with your good counsel.
Guard our coming and going,
And spread your shelter of peace over all we love.

And — I have to add — may it come soon.

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