Having been raised a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I’ve been following the recent scandals quite a bit. I can’t imagine the grief felt by the core group of victims. What a hardship it must be to see an ideal of perfection in a form that it so completely fallible, and in way that so violates a sacred bond of trust. I wonder, though, about the private emotional battles existing in the minds and hearts of many area Catholics who are questioning their faith in a system that may not have their best interests at heart. If the image of the Church has been put above the welfare of its parishioners, how can it possibly see for the beam in its own eye? Part of me stands in awe at the ability and ease with which the Church sought to cover up these allegations and in wonderment at the parishioners who knew what was happening to the victims and SAID NOTHING. What do you say to someone to convince them that an act so deplorable should not be openly condemned?
Archive for the 'Violence' Category
One of my students was shot and killed yesterday just standing on the corner with his friends. He was dedicated to turning his life around after making some bad choices as a very young man. Violence is a real problem in America. I believe education is the solution, but I’m open to other suggestions.
I haven’t posted about the Arizona shootings because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I have been grately affected emotionally by the tragedy, and considering I don’t personally know anyone involved, I’ve been trying to figure out WHY it bothered me so very much.
Blaming Sarah Palin seems easy, and as much as I dislike her, I don’t really think that she can be blamed. Her Crosshairs ad was certainly inflamatory, and many commented about the wording and the visual image. It does SEEM to promotre violence against members of the government, but more importantly, it makes a pretty strong statement about the nature of politics in America. “Eliminate the competition” seems to be the accepted solution to political tumoil for the Republican party.
Maybe this guy was influenced by extremist rhetoric. He was certainly insane. But we have to take a good look at the media and the extreme way politicians communicate when a mass shooting happens in Arizona and the general response is, “Well, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later”. Is that really where we are right now? Are we seriously at a place where we can’t blame an insane man for being crazy because the outside influences are so extremist and violent that it’s possible he might have been influenced by a game, a TV ad, a movie…. Is this the world we want to accept – a violent. extremist, society in which this very thing can happens and we shrug our shoulders and keep our heads down?
I was watching the Democratic National Convention(which isn’t quite Democratic, or national) on Monday night and they cut to a picture of where the Democratic Nominee will be speaking from on Thursday. That’s when it dawned me. They’re going to kill him. It may not be on Thursday night, though a “plot” has already been disrupted, but I think there’s a reasonable chance that they’re going to kill him. Don’t ask me who “they” is. There are so many people who feel they have a reason to take his life that I’m sure the list is days long, but my guess it that we’ll never really know and the idea will have originated in the highest levels of the government. I’m going to guess that the attempt will be blamed on a “lone nut” racist who works in the stadium (noticed that the stage lends itself to triangulated crossfire) and has recently talked to someone about how much they hate the man. Blaming a national disaster on a terrorist has already been done.
I have to send a special shout out to Daniel on this one. Writing is a catharsis indeed, but we cannot forget to write what we should as well as what we can. All the posts on religion, education, and politics mean nothing if we DO nothing, and most importantly, we cannot forget that while we sit in front of our computers in cushy office chairs surrounded by air conditioning there are thousands of people suffering IN OUR NAME.
Our government is torturing and detaining people for indeterminate lengths of time without giving any reasoning, and they say they’re doing it to make us safer. What proof do we have? What can we point to as the reason for even arresting these men? We make excuses and we spout slogans, forgetting all the while that people are suffering, truly, deeply suffering – and for what?
When I was in college (sometime in 1997) I read an opinion piece about the lack of heroes in America and I wrote a counterargument for a class I was taking. I remember focusing on the small, everyday heroes (firemen, teachers, the occasional cop), probably unable to find the large scale heroes the piece was longing for, thus inadvertently proving the author’s point. I wish I had that counterargument. I think I would be amused at how naive and self-absorbed I was. Here was this prophetic piece of writing in front of me and I dismissed it completely. I actually believed the things my parents, teachers, politicians, and news anchors told me. I didn’t look elsewhere because I had the opinion of everyone that mattered. Even through college I remained ignorant of what was really going on around me. I probably would be to this day if I hadn’t met my husband. (Man, that revelation is going to piss some people off.) It terrifies me to think of how many things I missed in my youth. But it horrifies me more to look ahead.
I see what this drop in the economy is doing to my city. I’m watching my students get more depressed and angry by the day as their parents lose jobs, their rent goes unpaid, and they try to study on empty stomachs and lost hopes. They’re afraid to graduate, knowing there’s not really anyplace to go. We send some to college, but trade school is becoming a waste. Who wants to get into student loan debt when there’s no promise of a job when you graduate? They refuse to join the army and I’m torn between being proud that they won’t fight this pointless war and upset knowing that their salary would have provided them three meals a day and kept their family afloat, especially when supplemented with combat pay. There’s an up-rise in violence, especially toward law enforcement. This means that people are angry at the establishment, and as our nation degrades financially, the violence will get worse.
There are no heroes in this city. There are no heroes in this country. No one is standing up and saying, “Look around you. We are killing each other. We are letting each other die. Our children have little education and no health care. Our young men and women are hustling on the streets to survive. Our families are broken. Unemployment is high. Teenage pregnancy is high. Truancy is high. This has to stop.” Not loud enough to be heard. Maybe the problems seem so overwhelming that no one has any ideas(except Al Gore, Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich). They’re stunned. They’re looking at the wreckage of our city and our country and shaking their heads. We need a hero. Or maybe we have the heores, adn we just won’t listen.
The United States has put out a video supposedly showing Iranian soldiers dropping what they claim to be explosive devices in the water near US Ships in the Persian Gulf. I have several problems with this video. First, when the “provocation” was announced, there was no mention of their being video footage of the “attempted attack”. Second, Iran says that the video is doctored, and having seen the video, I tend to agree with them. Though they admit that speedboats were in the area, they contend that this is a normal occurrence and the boats were doing nothing out of the ordinary. The voices of the “Iranians” sound more like American soldiers. The accent isn’t right for a speaker of Farsi, and the audio is easily understood over the roar of US and Iranian vessels. I don’t think the propagandists are even trying anymore. How can anyone take the US Government seriously anymore? Has the enire Iraq war just been a premable to the US going into Iran?