An A.P. article up today; “Nation negotiates minefield of bad news.” Talks about the astonishing number of mass murders in the last month – 47. Cops and kids and immigrants. I suppose it’s 52 now, with the kids in Tacoma.

Of course, we can’t talk about guns.

Put aside for a moment the debate over guns. This isn’t about policy.

It talks about the failure of American Exceptionalism. The promise of the mansion and the Hummer and the whatever else.

For so long, the national narrative has been so bullish about equality of opportunity, so persuasive in its romance of possibility for all. Is it so subversive to speculate, then, that when the engine of possibility runs into roadblocks, people can’t cope?

It talks about layoffs, and barely getting by on unemployment; that might be something to think about.

…had lost his job at an assembly plant, was barely getting by on unemployment and was frustrated that the American dream, so highly billed and coveted, wasn’t coming through for him. Early reports suggest that the suspect in the Pittsburgh officers’ killings, too, was angered at being laid off from a glass factory.

What would happen if we started talking about guns? Guns, and power, and rugged individualism? I know; guns don’t kill people, but it sure seems like people use guns to kill people.

Maybe we should start faxing these stories to the White House, and both Houses of Congress? Maybe something in them might prompt a little help for factories, or lift unemployment compensation up to where you can survive, or maybe universal health care? Maybe promote the idea that a human has intrinsic value, even if one isn’t the CEO of a too big to fail bank? That we are a nation of people, not of banks and factories and special interests and churches. Or maybe this is a state thing, starting with your more local representatives?

I don’t know.

Advertisements