This is the day of peace, the Friday between the end of the Republican convention and the start of next week’s Democrat convention.
If you watched the Republicans, you likely are torn between moments of hope and despair, wondering if there is no common sense left in this troubled world. I predict the Democrats will produce similar emotions – I admit more on the despair side for me.
In the past months the terrorist attacks, shootings of apparently innocent souls and savage murders of police are too numerous to list. I expect most news organizations now have a standard news story format something like:
DATELINE — ______ innocent people died today when _____ shot them to death in _____ . Police are withholding names until families are notified. They are trying to determine if the shooter acted alone. Democrats said it was a terrible act of violence and police are to blame. Republicans said it was an attack by radical Islamic terrorists and ISIS must be bombed into the Stone Age.
Each day I hear people say that our country has never been so divided. As someone with more than a passing interest in history, I point out the Civil War, Revolutionary War and Vietnam War as just a few times that were at least as divisive.
But yes, it is getting angry out there.
To these broad troubles, I add more narrow (but perhaps deeper) evidence of how distorted our culture has become:
- A few nights ago I saw a television commercial for an upcoming program that openly used profanity taking the Lord’s name in vain. This wasn’t a movie in a theater or on a cable channel late at night. It was a regular old channel in early evening.
- Police in New Jersey recently responded to a call for help from an elementary school. They arrested a third grader for allegedly using a racial slur; he had referred to something at the school bake sale as a brownie. The parents will send their child to a different school – unless state authorities decide they are unfit bigots.
- Airport authorities are being sued by a traveler who was bloodied, bruised and arrested after a misunderstanding with TSA agents. She didn’t immediately comply with instructions and become confused when agents started yelling at her. This wasn’t because she was planning a terror attack, but because she is partially deaf and has paralysis, and was on her way home from treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude Hospital.
A return to decency and common sense wouldn’t solve every problem we face, but it would be a good start.
No, I don’t think the end is near. But I do think we’re nearing the point of no return.