This morning’s news was consumed by stories about the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice. This was a horrible incident, and my heart goes out to those injured. I wish them a speedy recovery.
I am both shocked and saddened, but there really is no surprise. An angry despair has spread across America. A despair caused not by some external influence, but one from within. Once one of the most respected institutions on Earth, our Congress has devolved into nothing more than a bickering, partisan mess driven by systemic corruption and lack of integrity, with members worried more about campaign contributions than solving the country’s problems. Their approval ratings are at historic lows.
This is being felt internationally as well. A friend in Germany recently said to me, “… there is some sort of vacuum where US leadership used to be. And that is a potentially dangerous situation. … the new star is China. [The US has] handed world leadership to them on a platter. And they gratefully accept since they anyhow see these last few hundred years as a fluke. Otherwise China always has been the greatest nation in the world. So that’s where we’ll all have to look in the future.”
I believe incidents like yesterday’s shooting are driven by a sense of hopelessness, a feeling that we can’t fix this. A lack of hope causes people to either give up or it drives them to extreme actions. We are seeing both. Initial reports of the shooter indicate he was emotionally distraught, in part due to this governmental chaos and associated divisive rhetoric.
As expected, we are already hearing about how to provide better security for members of Congress, including increased police and Secret Service details. It seems to me, however, the best security would be obtained simply by Congress cleaning up their mess. Maybe by becoming respectable again, by eliminating the corruption, stopping the petty politics, and getting back to actually working for America (and setting a good example for the world) fewer people would be compelled to violence through desperation. And just think of the problems we could solve.