Where Is Respect for Life?
Smart And Spicy
October 12, 2017
When the great Russian ballet dancer Ivan Nagy was asked if ballet dancing were as easy as he made it look, he confessed, "It hurts. It hurts," with a suffering smile and begging eyes. "It hurts."
It hurts to have a president who acts this way.
It hurts that there are Americans who are thrilled to have a president who acts this way.
Indelibly written on our minds and hearts: Puerto Rico. Las Vegas.
Stained onto our consciousness: Donald Trump's actions and words.
Behavior counts. Words count.
It feels like Trump's Alabama rally was years ago; it's been only 13 days.
"WE have 52 votes," he told his base, about his fifth try repealing Obamacare.
The continued stirring up of "We" versus "Them" cements followers into the mentality that what others say doesn't matter, since it is us versus them. *They* don't count; they're not *Us.*
Reconciliation is a complex Congressional process, especially if political parties disagree.
"Just a trick," Trump told supporters, so they'd blame "tricks" when his bill failed.
Trump thinks his base represents America; that's the problem with preaching to your own choir. First you delude your listeners, but you said it, so they believe it as fact. Then you believe it's true, because your followers do. The cycle's its own flaw.
Picking a fight, then attacking, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital, when she publicly begged him for help, Trump accused Puerto Ricans of "wanting everything to be done for them."
That followed on the heels of Trump's UN speech when he said socialism doesn't work. It was horrible watching leaders of other countries actually laughing *at* our president - to his face.
While he played golf Trump insisted help for Puerto Rico was "under really great control," blaming reports of desperateness on "politically motivated ingrates."
"If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina," he told Puerto Ricans.
That was just plain rude. Trump needs a mother to tell him it's rude to insult people you go down to help, It was mean, telling them their disaster is not "real," when they're on an island with tropical heat and humidity, without electricity - or drinking water.
Wanting to show he cared, he literally threw paper towels into a crowd.
* * *
It was what Trump didn't say that was noticed, after the Las Vegas mass shooting, with 59 dead and at least 527 injured.
Why so silent?
Because Donald Trump is a canny cookie; he knows what people want. And by people, make that *his* people.
"Base would go insane and he knows it," said former Trump advisor Roger Stone.
The "end of everything" - is what Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, predicted if Trump supports tighter gun controls (Newsweek).
Bannon was asked whether Trump's base would react worse to this than they would if he supported an immigration amnesty bill.
"As hard as it is to believe actually worse."
* * *
The normalization of catastrophe, the normalization of violence, that's what I'm concerned about.
Trump didn't see much of a big deal with Puerto Rico, compared to Katrina.
Body counts of mass killings saturate the internet; people around the world point to our country.
If you want to be really horrified go to gunviolencearchive.org
They collect gun violence data from media, law enforcement, government and commercial sources; they say they're independent and don't link with any advocacy group. Check the links to numbers, and analysis; it's scary.
Our president clearly loves his own family; where is that love and empathy for others?
The ignominy, the contumely in Trump's rudeness. The inglorious pollution of his tweets into our air; even the net is crying.
Antipathy means against (anti) feeling (Pathos); referring to someone without instincts for feeling.
So wrapped up in his cozy bubble, buoyed by metrics that don't exist, didn't anyone teach Trump to feel?
* * *
All over the world, we're being accused.
It's in our culture: apocalypse movies, TV; violence in songs, in books. How does this intersect with mass violence?
Where is beauty? Where is reverence for life?
(Sadly, that's not what the U.S. is known for.)
The venal dishonor of cowardly Republicans in Congress who've been caught taking bribes from the NRA, then voting to empower people with guns.
How much money did lawmakers take from the gun lobby? Politico and the Washington Post list amounts, with data from The Center for Responsive Politics. Want to see who got how much? Check it out: (opensecrets.org)
I was thinking about the gunman in Las Vegas. Can you imagine being in such pain, so twisted, so hurting, you'd take others' lives, then your own?
We all have to live with the randomness. When you go to a concert or shopping at a mall or take a trip the unimaginable could happen. Other generations didn't have to deal with this, you think.
During the Cold War people actually believed we needed bomb shelters, fearing imminent nuclear attack.
Guess what? The bomb shelter business is booming. Texan Clyde Scott says sales were $9 million last year; he's currently building a celebrity one priced at $10 million+. "Business went out the roof" right after Trump's election, he adds. "I'd say 500 to 700 percent in one month."
They often double as elaborate "man caves" for the wealthy. Scott says he built one for a dentist, who wanted to hide from his wife and get drunk.
The newest news story eclipses earlier ones, with the latest outrage, as if earlier things never happened to stain our consciousness, each new one blotted out by the next.
* * *
You try to make sense of the Las Vegas killings. How?
Should we blame cultural influences? Trump? Angry white men? gun lovers? Mental illness?
Where is respect for life?
Hundreds of people did line up, patiently waiting six to eight hours to donate blood to those injured.
Trump keeps stirring it up, dividing Americans; the police have their own prejudices, and fears; more people appear mentally ill. Will the "haves" and "have nots" situation worsen under Trump, if Republicans have their way with health care, taxes, gerrymandering?
Will elections matter if the American people lose faith in the integrity of their vote?
Writing about Las Vegas, Bill O'Reilly said gun control will not stop mass shootings from happening.
"This is the price of freedom."
* * *
$1 million. California doctor Garen Wintemute gave more than that, of his own money, to fund his research into gun violence.
California has given $5 million funding for The Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis, the first publicly charted center in the country. They'll use Wintemute's 30 years of research on gun violence.
The NRA opposed this; that's not surprising.
Bills in Congress have failed due to lack of data on the impact of gun violence on public health.
California's gun violence-related death rate dropped 20% since 2000, unlike the national rate.
Wintemere says mass shootings are only one or two percent of all deaths from firearm violence in the U.S.
Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.
You can write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org