There was so much to write about this week that it was overwhelming. Unfortunately, much of what occurred is sad or troubling. It was a bit much to take in all at once. However, I plan to address many of the issues as the days pass. A few quick thoughts:
- The shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington DC were horrific and troubling on many levels. Besides the personal aspect of my having been in Building 197 many, many times, one must ask how many more mass shootings are there going to be before we as a society decide to make our citizens safe and secure? It will not be by arming more of our citizens. I’m troubled that some in our society are calling these shootings the “new normal.” There is nothing normal about it.
- I am dismayed at the continued dysfunction in our Congress thanks to a minority of about forty House Republicans that seem to think that their way of thinking is the only correct way for Americans to think and are willing to hold our country hostage to get what they want. I also wish they would quit telling me what I want as in “the American people want to get rid of Obamacare.” None of those people asked me about it. I happen to think it is a good idea.
- Within the first three days that it was on sale, “Grand Theft Auto Five” had over a billion (yes, with a “b”) dollars in sales. I’m not one of those that fears the end of civilization as we know it because of video games and other aspects of our culture, but one can’t help but wonder why such a cruel, violent, misogynistic game would be so popular. And no I’ve never played it.
- The new Apple i-phone also arrived this week. I am not sure why people had to stand in line to buy a phone that appears to be only marginally different from what already exists, but that is up to them. With the controversy over who is collecting what information on all of us, it seems counter-intuitive that those buying the phone are excited about coughing up their fingerprint to use it.
- Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, won the 2014 Miss America crown. She is the first woman of Indian descent to win. I did not see the pageant, and I’m not even sure I knew that it was on, but I heard the news about it not because of reporting on the event, but rather I heard about it from reporting about all the nasty postings on social media regarding her ethnic background. Most of the postings were just plain ignorant, but it continues to reflect the worst aspects of our society. Ignorant or not, many of the racist posts, if reflective of a noticeable slice of America, makes me understand just how difficult it will be to solve many of the problems facing our country.
There were of course some positive things happening this week. College football is underway again, for example. I know there are significant problems there and one day I’ll address them, but for now I choose to enjoy the excitement and camaraderie of a beautiful fall day and losing oneself in an endeavor that has no bearing on the crisis of the day.
I also continue to appreciate the freshness that Pope Francis is bringing to the Catholic Church and the pastoral, big tent message he is sending. Putting people in need above the church hierarchy is just the message many in that hierarchy needed to hear. It will be interesting to see how he continues to convey his message of humility and faithfulness. I seriously doubt that there will be any significant doctrinal changes in the months and years to come. However a continued message that all are welcome is in itself a significant change.
I trust that the coming week will bring better news.