Monday, April 19, 2010

Pondering the Cruelty of April 19th

In his poem “The Waste Land,” T. S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month of the year. ” Looking back into history, the 19th certainly is one of the cruelest days in April.

Today is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the horrors of Waco, and the beginning of the SS assault on the Warsaw Ghetto, days which saw the senseless murder of hundreds of innocent men, women and children. Today is also the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the start of the American Revolution.

These are interesting events to ponder in light of the angry mobs of Teabaggers who seem so abundant across America, and a recent poll by the Pew Research Center showing that four out of five Americans distrust the Federal Government.

For those Americans who would rather place their trust in a free market, there is the fraud investigation of Goldman Sachs, and the airline companies who are willing to bet the lives of their passengers and crews that the volcanic cloud covering Europe is really harmless and that regulators are being too cautious.

Sitting here in Edinburgh, with that volcanic cloud drifting over my head and the smell of ash in the air, I must also wonder what the fundamentalist Christians of America would be doing if this cloud were drifting above them. Preaching the doom of Armageddon I suspect.

Much of America’s discontent is tied to the economy. Unemployment, home foreclosures, lost savings, struggling to survive have been all too common in America for the past two years. People want to put the blame on someone, and government is such an easy target. But the government is made up of Americans with the same positive and negative traits found in all of us.

If we truly want a better nation, perhaps it is time we stopped complaining, stopped whining, stopped pretending that our government is some alien life form. Perhaps it is time for us to check our racism and bigotry, to recognize that religious freedom means respecting the views of others.

America needs to open a meaningful dialogue, to start looking for real solutions. We need to stop shouting at each other and start listening. We need to look for points of agreement, points of compromise, points that can help us build a better America.

April, after all, is the beginning of Spring, a season of rebirth.

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