An emptiness about the heart of life

I will share a few photos from our weekend in London with Grace and Jack, but I feel like I can’t post anything without saying a few words about Sunday’s massacre in Orlando.

I am so heartbroken and grieved for our country. We are such a disaster right now. I grieve for the LGBTQ community in Orlando and in the United States at large. I have ignorantly and naively believed that homophobia is passé, that we have progressed beyond such hatred and bigotry, and that gay people can finally exist, on the whole, in freedom and safety. Sunday was a horrific reminder that they cannot and do not.

And our country cannot and does not dwell in safety — but rather wallows in paranoia — because we are ignorant. Because the NRA lines the pockets of our legislators. Because we have chosen to believe that more assault rifles, legally, in the hands of civilians is a virtue. Because our elected officials would rather give people on terrorist watch lists access to guns than curtail the expression of the sacred (and I declare, fraudulently interpreted) Second Amendment. Because we would rather prop up a military state controlled by a reality TV star-cum-tyrant than live in freedom. We seem prefer this world of terror to the humanist and democratic ideals that the United States of America was supposedly inspired by.

Racism, fear, and ignorance will never make America great again. Trump and the Republican party seem to believe that they will.

But I can only hope — with no small degree of desperation these days — that the majority of Americans will look to Orlando, will look to the monthly mass shootings, will look to the faces of refugees and imprisoned black men and transgender people in North Carolina, and say: We reject fear. We choose freedom.

HoodGrace in a windowYoung loversGrace and AmirahRainy Sunday"Ecce Ancilla Domini," Dante Gabriel RossettiOver the ThamesRainy SundayDirty BurgerRainy Sunday

Truly sick as a nation

14 Dec. 2015 cover of the New Yorker, by Eric Drooker.

Is there anything left to say about America’s self-destructive passion for firearms?

A reader’s comment in the Atlantic, which I feel like echoing today:

Most of the people I know who have guns keep them safely secured and most are not paranoid. Some of them even mock those who can’t leave the house without a gun on their hip. The full-blown and paranoid gun nut is also a very sophisticated engineer who had lived in urban, suburban, and rural areas at different times in his life. He’s a libertarian more than anything else. So, I’m always careful to recognize that things aren’t as simple as a rural/urban divide.

Yet I think we have crossed a line into utter madness. When it comes down to the daily barrage of mass murder, what I believe is that we have turned our country over to terrorists of every religious stripe and no religion at all. The latest murderers may very well have been inspired by ISIS. But last week’s murderer in Colorado Springs was clearly inspired by the violent rhetoric of the Christianist far right, including the rhetoric of some of the Republican candidates for president.

Adam Lanza and the Oregon shooter and James Holmes may just have been inspired by the demons in their heads, but all of them were able to do what they did because of easy access to legal and illegal weapons. When we live in a country where people on terrorist watch lists and clearly paranoid individuals can buy whatever weaponry they want and the entire right wing of the United States refuses to even consider some basic limitations, I truly fear for what we have become as a nation.

We have given in to the paranoids and the terrorists who kill every single day. We are truly sick as a nation. I wish I saw a way out, but I simply don’t see it any longer. I have no doubt that the people who wrote the Second Amendment are turning over in their graves.

(Source)

This cannot go on any longer. I am full of rage at the cowardly politicians who are so easily bullied by the NRA and so unwilling to listen to the majority of Americans who want some actual gun control laws to be enacted in this country.