The recent shooting in Tucson causes me to pray for the victims and families; and, to reflect on our political discourse in general.
As far as I am aware, there is no causal link established at this time between national politics and the shootings, but lots of folks have commented on the seeming lack of civility in our discussion today.
As historical background, politics in the US of A have been even more overheated, personal and vitriolic in the past. It is a tradition. Our rhetoric today pales in comparison with historical campaigns.
For example, John Quincy Adams was in a nasty fight with Andrew Jackson that involved name calling and the respective families. It was not pretty. And, recall that we even had a Civil War about politics. In that light, today's 'excesses' can appear mild.
But, the world is different now, and we are less tolerant.
And, there are a lot of whack jobs with access to firepower that was unimagined in the 18th and 19th centuries. So, perhaps a little civility can be a good thing.
I confess to some past excesses in this space. They spring from a frustration about issues which seem critical but appear to be ignored. And, today's REPS have mastered the art of unpleasant politics while the today's DEMS have seemed tame. But, it is not for me to balance the scales.
It is my considered opinion that the most critical issue affecting our national security today is an accumulation of wealth and power in too few hands unbalanced by patriotism or control.
It is not about the people who collect the wealth and power - it is the accumulation itself. Our system guarantees that some will collect wealth and power and that those people will exercise that power to the detriment of the national interest. There are only two things which can mitigate that inevitability: first, the generous instincts of the possessors; second, national government policies which actively attempt to reduce its influence.
Our continuing failure to limit the pernicious effects of wealth concentrations is harbringing the decline of our country's fairness, influence and power.
On top of that, those with power have a vested interest in preventing amelioration of their power. They also possess the means and will to prevent any effective limits on themselves.
That leaves the rest of us dependent on their conscience and good wishes. I for one do not rely on the charitable impulses of a plutocratic class.
It is time for the national goverment to take a stand on this issue and assert control over the great fortunes.
That's you Barry.