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Sunday, June 12, 2016

On Orlando And American Rhetoric

The mass shooting at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. -- an establishment which mainly caters to gay people -- left me numb. 50 people dead, many more injured. My initial reaction was that I was at a loss for words.

Then I read what Charles Pierce had to say about what we lose with every mass shooting. He put things into perspective and made me realize what I should really be upset about: that there is a kind of virulent hate out there that is reflected in what our politicians do.

Politicians send out their thoughts and prayers, yet how many of them want to trumpet legislation that only serves to fuel the flames that spread such hate? Their thoughts and prayers ring hollow when their primary concern remains getting re-elected to the offices they hold or, if they are leaving office, ensuring the person who represents their party gets elected. And all of this is done to cater to special interest groups who have personal agendas and don't want the larger issues discussed.

Meanwhile, we voters go about our business of tossing around memes that sound good to us, while leaving posts on Facebook and Twitter and only concerning ourselves with how many people respond favorably to them. We keep clinging to easy answers because that's what we really want.

I have written previously that most issues are complex in nature and to boil any incident down to a single factor overlooks the bigger picture. What Pierce wrote about is the perfect example of what happens when everyone wants to look at every issue as "one or the other" rather than realize there's often more to it than that.

If we really want America to be better than what we think of it as, we need to stop with the endless rhetoric, the echo chambers and the short sightedness that plague the direction we often take America. We need to have open, honest discussion and not just toss memes around. And we need to recognize that we have a lot more to do than just toss up thoughts and prayers, as good as our intentions may be -- and to especially remind every politician that thoughts and prayers may be a nice gesture, but they don't ever lead to real solutions.

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