Guns, Trump, and the Theater of the People

Full disclosure: this piece is a repost from my Facebook page. I stumbled across the above photo of Donald Trump on Creative Commons, though, and it was too good not to share. Enjoy.

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Politics drives this ship called America; where did all the people go?

The chief politician cried, lamented the death of child, after child, after child, after child (shall I go on ad naseum?) good and proper. His tears were criticized, some calling them showmanship,or theatrical, or brought on by a fingertip's worth of Ben Gay. His critics questioned whether his emotions were genuine, while this question kept needling my noodle: how many of us shed a single tear for Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli , Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, or Allison N. Wyatt? And what if our President's tears were just a lousy piece of back-alley theater? Don't these children deserve all the tears we can muster?

A church in the Midwest is planning a morning mini-conference relating to the refugee Crisis. "Please don't post anything about the time, location, or individuals sponsoring the event on social media," an email read. "Death threats against those providing refugee assistance necessitates that we keep a low profile." That's when my stomach turned. There are some who'd rather kill a priest than help a Syrian.

A man takes the stage in Iowa, tells us that his grand strategy for making America great again is to build a wall to the heavens. Up, up, up it will go, and perhaps it will not be high enough to reach God, but by-God, it will keep out the Muslims and Mexicans. He is a visionary, a frontrunner, some say. He is the great hope of a minority of the majority, say others. He would be a caricature of a caricature were it not for the thousands who chant his name. There was a crowd, once, that chanted the name of Barabbas. It bears saying.

Politics--it's the cigarette of the masses, the chemical burn, the addiction, the time-suck that coats everything black with tar, with theater, with hyperbole, with murder or threats of it. Humanity is in scarce supply; politics is not. Civility is a dinosaur; politics is the family dog.

Politics drives this ship called America; where did all the people go?

***TINY LETTER***

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Photo by Michael Vaden; licensed under Creative Commons via Flickr.

Aschalew Abebe: A Celebration of a Good Man

I said to Amber, "if I have one fear, it's that I will not live an interesting life." She smiled, patted my arm gently, and said, "I don't think you have to worry about that. Think of all of the wonderful people you've met in all the wonderful places." Amber is right.

I have had the good fortune of being surrounded by good folks who are engaging in good work. Some of them live in my local context; others live oceans away. Today, I'd like to introduce you to my friend Aschalew Abebe. He is a rare gem.

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We rattle down the washed-out road from Welkite to Gunchire as the sun slips behind the eucalyptus groves and kisses the horizon. Kilometers are marked in clusters of thatched-roofed huts and mosque minarets. I’m jostled side to side, and every pothole we hit sends a jolt through my lower back.

“How much farther?” I ask.

“About 10 kilometers,” Aschalew says, as if I have the ability to convert rickety kilometers to some measurement of time. He laughs, “What’s wrong? This road is not smooth enough for you?”

I tell him it is fine, and his eyebrows lift. The edges of his mouth, too. He says, “I know you are lying, my friend.” He changes the subject as if to distract me from the road. “Do you remember the first time we met?”

“Yes,” I say, recalling that night almost four years gone by.

Continue reading at In Touch.

*Photograph by Scott Wade, via In Touch.

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