How Do We Even Talk About This?

Disclaimer: The following is not meant as a philosophical argument but an emotional rant that’s been building in light of this past week (beginning 6/12/16). Also I’m excessively more sarcastic regarding certain presidential nominees than maybe necessary.

All week I’ve been looking for the words to say after the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and in response to how my friends, families, acquaintances are processing publicly on social media. I keep drawing blanks. Feel free to keep reading this or not, it isn’t particularly good.

I have obvious opinions about many of the talking points this week. I’ve written several times on this blog about gun control — I’ve since taken the posts down, if you’re interested in those posts though I still have them and you can email me at tommy.welty@gmail.com to get them; I’ve written about the Republican Candidate, Donald the Duck — and will write more today about him; I’ve regrettably written about the LGBT community — I’ve also taken down that post down. But I’m having trouble synthesizing the thoughts. Here’s some ramblings on each.

Quick Thoughts About Gun Control

It seems to me that perhaps our elected officials are listening and making an attempt. Even the twitteriest twatter tweeted he was taking a meeting with the NRA to discuss common sense gun control legislation. I’m personally in favor of broader strokes that protect the due process of individuals and yet is more thorough than what Blonald Blump is taking a meeting with the NRA for. But who am I to argue with him, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama?

I don’t plan on mentioning his name in this post. You’ll have to decipher my code, but if you listen to Drumph regularly enough you’re used to interpreting gibberish.

Quick Thoughts About Some Guy Named “DJ” (because if you omit his last name you have a little boy’s name from 1992 and it’s hard to take seriously a guy with a little boy’s name from 1992)

Speaking of the Presumptive If-You-Don’t-Laugh-You’ll-Get-An-Ulcer Candidate, this week he’s really doubled down on his attempts to dismantle the Bill of Rights – consistent with his whole campaign platform: “Screw the Constitution! Make America [WHITE] Again!”

  1. Freedom of Religion – If you deny the freedom of religious expression to one group you’re setting the precedent to deny it to any religious group. We Christian’s often complain about how persecuted we are (we’re not), as evidenced by movies like God’s Not Dead and its unfortunate sequel God’s Not Dead 2. But, we’re fine. We’re not even close to being persecuted. Saying we are is offensive to our Christian brothers and sisters who are actually persecuted and being martyred around the world. But if the extreme right, potential future President Derple Jay Tiddlywinks sets a legal precedent to restrict religious expression rights of a particular religious group then what happens to Christians when a future president on the extreme left of the political spectrum takes office? And why is that the reasoning that I have to use? Why can’t we just agree that it is diametrically opposed to the American Ideal as presented in the Constitution to restrict religious freedom and leave it at that? Why are our rights really only worth protecting for some and not all?
  2. Freedom of the Press – We’re going to ignore Clinton’s not very good journalistic engagement because unlike He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named she’s not hostilely attacking and restricting the press. Republican Presidential Candidate Cheese Puff actively denies access to his campaign from mainstream news sources like Daily Beast, Politico, and Buzzfeed. He added to the list this week The Washington Post for accurately reporting his propagation (the day after the massacre, sensitive timing) that President Obama was somehow involved in the shooting. Let’s not forget his many varied attacks on individual journalists (here’s looking at you Megyn Kelly — but not exclusively you either). He’s promised to “open up libel” laws. But screw the first amendment. Washington Post becomes umpteenth news outlet to get the Trump-access¬† stiff-arm
  3. Well Regulated Militia – Oh, and he tweeted that he’s meeting with NRA to discuss tighter gun restrictions: If you’re on the No Fly list or a Terror Watch list you can’t buy a gun, he’s suggesting. But when President Obama and Mrs. Clinton made literally the exact same suggestion they’re trying to take away our guns. So if we’re being consistent Republican Candidate These-Steaks-Are-So-Good-Really-They’re-Beautiful-You-Gotta-Taste-‘Em-They’re-The-Best-Steaks is also is trying to take away your Second Amendment Rights.

Ultimately, this Orangutan Orange Haired Buffoon is just that: a buffoon. What’s scary is the inconsistent outrage of those who support him. Where are the fear mongering memes when he actively opposes the First Amendment? Are those rights less important than gun rights? And when his messaging regarding gun control is the same as the Left’s where are the poorly photoshopped memes? Which Amendments are we okay with giving up next as long as we get to keep the Second? Are only Republicans allowed to challenge our interpretation of the Second Amendment? Perhaps short bursts on social media and blog posts from poets may not the best forums for civil discourse?¬† Maybe we should get coffee and talk about this?

Quick Thoughts About Offering Thoughts and Prayers to the LGBT Community

Here is where I’ve stumbled the hardest.

Four days after I saw someone’s Thoughts and Prayers for the LGBT community on Facebook I saw them posting a meme about the “Gay Agenda” and a Facebook memory mocking Caitlyn Jenner. Four Days.

I’ve also seen many gay friends post about their fear after this attack and pointing out that though what happened in Orlando is certainly a concentrated attack it is not an irregular attack on the LGBT community. I’ve also seen the same friends share about how hurt and angry they are by the people who would offer their Thoughts and Prayers to the LGBT community in one post and then talk about how Trans people wanting to use the public bathroom they identify with is an attempt at our children’s safety.

I understand where my friends are coming from. The insincerity of the grief expressed from my ilk has been disheartening, if not dangerous. I can’t imagine fearing for one’s safety and then seeing those who could turn the tide express their “grief” and then immediately returning to condemning you’re entire community. I’d be angry too.

As an Evangelical, I’m complicit in this and I am sorry. Far more deeply held than my conservative beliefs of human sexuality is my belief that all humans are created in the image of God and the senseless loss of any life is a tragedy without qualification. It is my understanding of the gospel narratives that Jesus greatly loves those who are on the margins of society. I am sorry if I have ever suggested otherwise. I am heartbroken by the lives that were ended because of bigotry, by the families who are torn apart by this tragedy, for the fear my friends have.

Ultimately my thoughts and prayers this week have been scattered and disjointed. I’ve been oscillating between extreme anger and heartache that yet again someone was legally able to purchase a gun and kill so many people. I still don’t know what to say. I’m praying that our government will do what is within their constitutional obligation to do and well regulate what needs to be well regulated instead of taking moments of silence and doing nothing. I am praying for the safety of my gay friends. I am praying that those who regularly employ hateful, fear mongering rhetoric will repent of their sin and seek to be reconciled to those they’ve hurt. And I’m praying that the families who are mourning the loss of a child from this tragedy and others attacks like it that target LGBT and minority communities will be comforted and protected.

How Do We Even Talk About This?