We shall be as a city upon a hill …

I penned and posted the following in 2017 following the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, and forty-two months later, our country and my feelings and opinions have not changed. After two recent headline-generating mass killings, I remain near sick to death with the predictable responses of politicians who: 1) claim mass killings are not who “we” are, 2) point to the emotional instability of killers with the implication that killers would not kill if only we could identify them and get them therapeutic help, and 3) ask us to pray for victims and their families. These latter day Pontius Pilates use these bromides to wash their hands of responsibility, and in so doing, never acknowledge the underlying recipe for the toxic stew in which “we” Americans are drowning:

–   ready availability of guns of war

–   social media outlets that are devoted to hatred, and other mainstream outlets like Facebook and Twitter that keep the stew of hatred simmering

–   national media outlets in pursuit of ratings that 24/7 shout out the commentary and news of confrontation and hatred

–    the widespread gap between many folks’ expectations for themselves and their actual achievement, which is exacerbated by media’s celebration of the wealthy and powerful.

–   over one-hundred-years-worth of thousands of examples of gratuitous and graphic murders in film that gradually desensitize all viewers (including you and me)

–   video games that allow an otherwise impotent person to aggressively and realistically kill humans—deliberately portrayed as dangerous, evil “others”—for a rewarding score and the emotional reward of feeling a delusional sense of power

–   pervasive worship of and acclaim for the bravery and killing power of actual American warriors

–   vicious politicians who, every day, publicly bully opponents and create and blame scapegoats for societal ills, which endorses for many Americans their own overt expressions of hatred toward those they see as the “other”

Mass killings ARE a manifestation of who “we” are. While most of us do try to avoid the stew, we cannot because America’s intolerant, violent, and hate-infused culture is pervasive. After 73 years, I am beginning to accept that the love I have held in my heart for my country all of my life is being laid flat. John Winthrop prophesied: “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us,” which has been proven correct, but what the world sees is not a paragon society that follows the tenets of Christian virtue, which is what Winthrop envisioned; rather, the eyes of all people of the world can clearly see that “we” live in a murderous, rapacious city upon a hill comprised of citizens who do not have the collective inclination or will to change our society for the better.

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