by Skip Cohen
As the world runs amuck, Sheila's got a new favorite expression. It comes up just about every time we break down and watch the news, react to what either of us has read, or had a conversation with friends: "I'm glad we're getting older, so we won't have to deal with this crap!"
There's always the same response, as one of us laughs painfully over the reality of what's happening in the world. But it's all so true.
I love "The Week," which I've been getting since my Dad got me a subscription many years ago. This week's cover story was about the shooting in Texas, but it was William Falk's editor letter that said it all.
...The reason Australia had a per capita Covid death rate one-tenth of ours, The New York Times recently reported, is that Australians trusted their scientists, their government, and each other, while Americans emphatically did not. In a very real sense, 900,000 Americans died of mistrust.
Americans cannot trust that our kids will go to school without being shot. we can't trust people to wear masks in a pandemic, because so many insist they have a right to infect others. We can't pass sensible gun-safety laws because some people passionately believe they need weapons of war to defend themselves against government tyranny. Many Americans no longer trust organized religion, corporations, capitalism, their employers, or the media. We do not share a common set of fact and values. We have self-sorted and retreated into our own worlds, our own websites, social media feeds, cable networks, and communities. Separated by impenetrable walls of tribal loyalty, we cannot come together to solve our problems even when they are killing us. Thoughts and prayers.*
I just don't get it. I remember in the heaviest pain of the pandemic talking with the manager of our local supermarket. He was plagued with idiots coming in and refusing to wear a mask, and there was nothing corporate would do to support any kind of mask mandate. Yet we all know, "No shirts, No shoes, No service."
And when it comes to better gun laws, I don't get that either. Sheila and I are gun owners, and we love it when we can find time to get to the range. But we're also completely in favor of background checks. As Golden State Warriors' coach, Steve Kerr commented the day of the Texas shooting, "We're being held hostage by fifty congressmen, who refuse to put in tighter laws for gun control."
I know it's hard to find my point this morning. The problem with a rant is that it doesn't offer a solution, just wind as I let off a little steam. Then again, it's therapeutic to a point. I don't have any answers, but as I watch the politicians battle out their own agendas instead of the people they represent, I know that's part of the problem.
So, Sheila and I do whatever we can to try and make a difference, but it's only in our backyard. For example, Sheila recently volunteered for a local organization that helps victims of life-changing bouts with mental illness go food shopping. And maybe that takes me to my point.
None of us can change the world, but slowly, it would make a difference if we all did something more in our own communities. Change doesn't happen in leaps and bounds - it's baby steps one at a time.
Wishing everybody a great weekend and time to find something you can do to make a difference. Then get the recipients of your eleven-second therapeutic hugs to get on the bandwagon with you. Together, we can all make a difference.
Have a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend, and if you're outside the US, have a great weekend or Monday and the start of a new week.
*Check out The Week - here's the link.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.