And it was out of this camp that it happened again--America's second favourite pastime after gambling. Several weeks back, on June 14, a gunman opened fire on Congressional Republicans practising for a baseball tournament in Alexandria, VA. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and 4 others were injured in the shoot-out. The suspect was identified as a supporter of Vermont Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential run. Summertime always seems to bring out the inner criminal in all of us--Within the same week as the Scalise shooting, the first anniversary of the murder of performer Christina Grimmie, the Pulse Night Club shooting, and the Brexit-inspired shooting of British Labour Party MP Jo Cox elapsed. This month, 5 years will have gone by since the theatre shooting in Aurora, CO, the deadliest in American history. Some Liberals could make absurd, tangential associations between Global Warming and Mental Health, much the way they did after an attack in Paris a couple of years back(in fairness, Conservatives never waste an opportunity to dream about 'good guys with guns'). Relax, relax. Take things one at a time, boys...
For once, the Conservative argument regarding guns(good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns) holds some value. Based upon all reliable sources reporting on the ballpark attack, it was Scalise's security detail(that which he receives for his stature as House Majority Whip) that prevented the occurrence of even greater casualties. For a minute, can you imagine the fallout from an attack of even greater scope than what took place? Elected officials, in a modern era of great unrest and unstable leaders, being gunned down by radical ideologues. President Trump and the 33 Republican Governors possibly activating a police state until the "bad hombres" are found and rooted out, and the President basing his entire re-election campaign on a proposal to "ban all Liberals until we find out what the f**k is going on." That's a dangerous road, not without precedents. All speculative, of course, but eminently possible given the present time and circumstances at play.
Ever since the seeming lows of last election, discourse in America, political and not, has plunged. The above-cited examples are symptoms of the bigger issue. Ideological extremes have become our biggest problem in politics and society today. Bipartisan Congressional retreats haven't been a done thing in approaching two decades. We have entered into a time where acting like an over-grown infant is not only considered 'normal,' but is often seen as the only acceptable way to act. After all, to be decent means the terrorists(read: the opposite side of the aisle) win. Honestly, it doesn't and shouldn't matter whether you're a Keith, a Laurie, a Mike, or a Sean, a left winger or a right winger, one should at least know how to act in a public setting. One would hope decency and morality could cut across partisan stripes.
It was asked by one of America's top pastors last year: "Why isn't decency faring better in the 2016 race?" I'll rise and say it's been an issue for much longer than this, though the last couple of years have provided a low-water mark. The notion of good Samaritans in a land full of Judaizers seems lost to the ages at times. In fact, if someone were lying and bleeding to death in the street, one side would walk right by while the other would babble about Trump's Twitter account, all the while the aforementioned person is bleeding to death. Actually, that's the perfect metaphor for the country right now. Both sides are beyond full boil, viewing one another as mortal enemies. It's probably amazing that more of these Scalise-like shootings haven't taken place so far. Personally wishing, and I know that's all it will amount to, that we could just view each other as fellow Americans who simply disagree as opposed to agents of evil who must be destroyed.
All the talk of forged birth certificates, false flag attacks, and such of the like perfumed the air of discourse like a poison, sowing the seeds of deep seated rage and distrust. In one of his books, former CNN opinion-giver Jack Cafferty wrote that "If these two parties, however 2008 breaks, can't fix what's broken, this way of life as we've known it may vanish into some deep, dark crevasse." On cue as always, President Trump(who was incredibly calling for healing and an end to the violent rhetoric a few weeks ago) in the past week made his own special contributions to the "American crevasse," launching into his usual early morning tweet-storms. Thursday, June 29, saw him tweeting at the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," bringing up bloody face-lifts and, the next day, bragging about his engaging in the extortion of the show's hosts. Sunday, July 2, saw him re-tweeting a fan video of Trump's WWE body-slamming of Vince McMahon, with the CNN logo super-imposed over the latter's head. Both prompted much outcry, but why? Everyone knows Trump's historic inability to see past his own hurt feelings and petty grudges. Why the surprise?
As a matter of principle, I'll usually take the side of both Erin Burnett's present and former network(CNN and NBC, respectively) over the rageaholic at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The notion of "fake news" charges coming from the man who once pretended to be his own publicist is amusing when it's not jarring. Jarring it is when you consider the threats of violence that have been threatened against members of the "fake media" for simply doing their jobs(granted, news division Presidents don't help themselves when they choose stories like the Russia investigation based upon ratings). If I have to consider something happening to some of my favourite people, I might lose whatever composure and clear-mindedness I've long sought to achieve. I'm probably not alone in regards to a loss of marbles. Looking with dismay at the weak-willed Republican leadership and their caving in the face of Trump, it feels like Richard Nixon has come back from the dead and, at age 104, is bent on finishing the job.
As a closing note, my own Bible reading has led me through the often infamous book of Revelation. The most polarizing Bible book by far, known exclusively for its sometimes hard to decipher descriptions of how the end times will transpire. In spite of a lot of people's interpretations, I ascribe to the simple explanation of this being a multi-generational re-assurance that this social order will pass away in time. "This, too, shall pass." Americans, and Earthians in general, need this re-assurance badly.
Not the article I'd hoped for or wanted, but this is how it ultimately turns out. Hope it's...readable.