My first & immediate reaction that day, was – this is a result of our political divide. Now, I doubt that it is that simple. Political divide has to be included in causality, though, I think. But a big question has become, how much does this divide, translating into rhetoric, claim responsibility for Jared Loughner’s actions? Some have dismissed this possibility out-of-hand. I disagree with those persons. Words have power. They can calm, or they can incite, inflame. You can add fuel to the fire, or you can douse it. Get real.
However, while I am focusing on the rhetorical impact of individuals/blogs/media on the American public, as ‘We, the People…’ Reverend Al Sharpton caught my attention with a slightly different perspective: “I think before we dismiss the political discourse debate, the problem is that when we get to how we execute, it’s going to take leadership.”
“And if the leadership of the country is so acrimonious and so busy with a poisonous debate themselves, we will never be able to get to dealing with those that are mentally ill or those that are isolated. Because the problem is that the leadership is so busy taking shots at each other.”
David Gregory, host of MSNBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, responded to the Reverend’s statement with this question: “…is this a game changer of sorts for our political attitudes as we move toward a major presidential election year?” Political attitudes. Don’t political attitudes essentially represent personal attitudes? Our beliefs? But what if, in some cases, our beliefs are wrong? What if, in fact, they are not so much belief as motive? I’m telling you, motives are tricky and can be hidden, even from the one with the motive. Deception plays a part here…
“…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
I’m going to extrapolate a bit and say that, where deception operates, there is sin. Last I heard, sin is not a good thing. It’s not helping. It brings with it a hardening of the heart and conscience. Makes it easy, or easier , to pull a trigger.
Any and all of us have sinned, and probably will again. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Being accused of being sinful does not need to enrage, frighten or offend you, because we have a Saviour. He has provided the Way, the Remedy. In fact, He is the Remedy. You and I need to learn of Him, or learn more. As do the Jared Loughner’s of the world. And I’m not saying that knowing Christ will tamp down your passions so much that you won’t still pull that trigger…but what I do believe is that only His love can truly & finally save us, from so many eventualities & possibilities. Pulling a trigger may be one of them.
To my almost astonishment, David Brooks, columnist for the Wall Street Journal’, brought up the subject of sin during the abovediscussion. Knock me over with a feather. “…we’ve had a culture which has downplayed sin, and therefore people think, “I–my way’s the right way, and 100 percent of what I want, that’s what we should have… And, and so that’s a–kind of a deep problem to get over.”
Again…Jesus. Way, Truth, and Life…He can get into your problem. He works from the inside out. We can try to change our behavior. It may seem that we’ve succeeded. For myself, enough pressure on me will prove that wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to adjust your behavior, go to therapy, use a Nicotine Patch or whatever. They are all good starts, I guess…you have to start somewhere, and faith without works is dead. But don’t go it alone. Jesus is here for us. He’s the One with the power, and the Love that uses that power without selfishness.