A conversation on Facebook, as well as two perfect monologues last night in the wake of the Orlando mass murder has me thinking. As we all should be.
Which is the appropriate response? Anger? Compassion?
I contend that either is fine. As an initial response. (see yesterday's post on thoughts and prayers). But what about those of us with the power to create change?
Everyone grieves in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to express honest grief. Last night, Jimmy Fallon perfectly expressed my sorrow in his opening comments on The Tonight Show. Sam Bee perfectly expressed my anger in her opening of the perfectly brilliant Full Frontal. (see both below)
Are either of them right or wrong? Nope. Everyone grieves in their own way.
I have grieved and cried in private over the loss of 50 beautiful young lives and for the horror and pain that the 53 injured and all those who were there will live with the rest of their days. And the shock and sorrow their families and loved ones must feel. If there was anything that I could personally do to ease their pain, I would do it in a heartbeat.
But I also believe we are at a point where in addition to being loving and caring to those families, and offering our thoughts and prayers, if we don't take decisive action this will never stop. Action that says what kind of a people we are. What kind of a society we choose to live in. One where we value inanimate objects over children? Or one where we value the lives of our citizens?
We should value our people more than a document written by imperfect people who had the best intentions and declared how things should be in a perfect world in 1788. The framers of the constitution also thought slavery was hunky dory and that blacks were worth only 3/5 of a human being. So we know they were wrong on some things.
The constitution is not absolute.
We cry "Freedom!" when anyone talks about "taking our guns away." But none of us are truly free when we live in fear every day of our lives. That is not freedom. That is tyranny. A tyranny of our own making.
So yes, I am angry. Furious. That we as a nation have so little compassion. That we allow words written 240 years ago to be more important than human life today. That we are so enamored of money and power and politics over human life and dignity.
So yes. I grieve. Every single time this happens. Which is more than once a day, if you only count those with 4 or more victims. Add in those with 3 or fewer and I would spend 24 hours a day grieving for the unnecessary loss of human life. As a human being, I simply cannot do that and still survive.
I can only grieve so many times before I have to speak out.
And try to DO something to stop it.
All I have is my voice, my vote, and my dollars.
Sam Bee on Full Frontal
Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show