Extreme Response to Politics (The Tragedy in Tucson)

This weekend tragedy struck in Tucson as what appears to be a troubled young man tried to assassinate a congresswoman and did end up killing 6 people and shooting many others at a grocery store.

A CNN article reported that sheriff of Pima County said this in response to the shooting:

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this county is getting to be outrageous. Unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

The banter and outrage between parties may not have caused this particular tragedy, but it certainly does not help.

Is it possible we can actually respect those with whom we disagree?

At the same time, I don’t mean to sound cynical, but we put way too much faith and/or blame on politics.  Don’t get me wrong, these public servants deserve our respect (and now it seems need our protection).  Many great things can happen through political means.

At the same time, do you ever wonder if it really matters who becomes President? One side or the other always complains for 4 years or 8 years. Congress and the Senate seem to move so slowly. To pass any law takes well “an act of Congress” a phrase we commonly use to mean “a real miracle because it takes so long to make anything happen.”

I cannot help but think, whether it is a political leader or a spiritual leader, the best leaders mobilize the people. Real power doesn’t come from changing laws but changing people.

I mentioned this passage in Not Like Me, but I think it is remarkable the way the people of Nineveh turned to God and away from their wicked ways just before the King made a proclamation commanding them to do so (Jonah 3:3-7). The passage reminded me that often politicians are reactionary and true change must come from the ground up.

Abraham Lincoln once said: “With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed…. He who holds public sentiment goes deeper than he who erects statutes or pronounces decisions.”

How powerful would it be if we decided to create a better nation, a better world rather than waiting on leaders to do all the work for us or blaming them for all of our problems. We can make a positive difference, and they cannot do it without us!

My prayers go out to all of those affected by this senseless act of violence.  May we take the steps necessary to keep this from happening ever again – especially in the way we treat each other when we disagree.

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