I am about to return to California, to be part of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley’s Poetry Staff. I am honored to work along side Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Cathy Park Hong Sharon Olds Kazim Ali and Juan Felipe Herrera. There will be a benefit for the Community in Berkeley, CA on Friday, Jun 17. firstname.lastname@example.org
The past few days have been deeply challenging to anyone of any sensitivity or charity. Almost every day where are mass shootings when 4 or more people are harmed or killed-the shooting at Pulse was an extreme of this new normality. I grew up in the South where there were plenty of guns, but even back in the day this kind of daily murder was simply not even known, not exceptable. Clearly it must be since a majority of Americans claim they must have guns to kill other Americans? Toddlers, mothers, baby brothers, hair salon owners, war veterans, grandmothers, Congressional Representatives, high school football players, first graders, drag queens, policemen, police women, clowns, and cabinetmakers are shot each and every day. This is the new normal. I DO NOT LIKE THE NEW NORMAL.
Right now the Congressional Democrats are throwing the political equivalent of a hissy fit because time and time again, they have tried to get a bill banning assault rifles to be discussed and time and time again Paul Ryan and the GOP mouth platitudes and DO NOTHING. So have that tantrum. We need those kinds of tantrums for the American people instead of the other kind where all of America’s problems are laid at the hands of an ethnic group and religion–sounds like Anti semitism to me, but it is now Islamophobia. Either way, it is awful. We need less racism, not more.
I hope that by November, Americans will think and vote their thoughtfulness and not their awfulness–this anger fear and name calling only makes us weaker and less honored. Why are we not aiming for our best? America is great. It is strong. I have two nephews–one works many jobs in Texas to take care of his family (wife, son, step sons, daughters) and one has finished college and has started training to be a full-time cop. They are part of why America is great. Not again, but now. That truly is one way to demand a better Normal. In November count your blessings, not your problems. Problems will always show up. Blessings are the grace from living.