Now that midterms are over, I'm free to focus a little more on issues in the wider world, not to mention show off a little of the knowledge which I so studiously crammed into my noggin. About a month ago, I had the pleasure of attending a "Meet the Fellows" open house which included a Democratic Congressman, a (female) BP Oil Executive, and several other media, corporate, and political insiders. After a brief sales pitch for their respective "Student Strategy Teams," designed to elicit student participation on some of the key issues facing our nation and world, the panel opened the floor up to a Q&A. The questions that followed were very enlightening, in particular one student asked, "what, in your opinion, is the most pressing or intractable issue facing our nation today?"
To a person, all the media, political, and corporate elites echoed the same sentiments: "Before we can tackle any issues, whether they be climate change, immigration, defense spending, or anything else that faces our nation and world, we cannot accomplish ANYTHING until we find a way to deal with and move past the political partisanship in this country." If there's one thing people of all stripes can agree on at this present moment, it's that something needs to be done... and nothing is happening.
19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
There are many contentious issues facing us as a nation and as a global society in this present time, and while I would like to sincerely believe that compromise and progress are a real possibility, yet the overwhelming evidence of history and human nature suggest that we will most likely resort to continued finger-pointing and shouting matches until Kingdom Come. That is, unless a significant portion of the people on both sides of any given issue are willing to soften their hearts and engage honestly with those of the other side. Georgetown University has demonstrated to me time and again that they truly abide by their core principles, among which are "Community in Diversity" and "Inter-religious Understanding."
Finally, to bring this down to a painfully practical level, I'm going to address an issue which I have heretofore avoided discussing publicly, both because I felt it necessary and respectful to allow time to grieve for and process the event, and because, frankly, I was entirely too engrossed with my midterm studies to devote any real effort to its analysis. I refer of course to the shooting over a week ago in Las Vegas. While the last week on Facebook has been a menagerie of sweeping accusations against gun owners and gun laws in the United States, and while most people in my feed were quick to post news articles from sources of varying levels of repute, I decided it might be better to wait for the heat of passion to blow over before making any kind of commentary.
First of all, let's be clear: the loss of life - anywhere in the world - constitutes a tragedy, and ultimately any preventable death (especially on a large scale) requires us to examine our societies for ways in which they could hopefully be prevented in the future. That being said, let's not imagine that the 58 souls who lost their lives in Las Vegas would have been immune from the same wholesale slaughter if the attacker had used, say a truck instead of a modified semi-automatic rifle. Although I'd be happy to entertain discussion on the legality of bump-stocks (which if I can draw a somewhat flippant comparison were like the spinner hubcaps of the gun world before last week), I think it's a mistake to assume that a gun-free America is one in which there will be no more senseless death.
The real issue behind the cause of senseless death, regardless of weapon or motive, is the evil within the human heart. Secular humanists may disagree, but anyone with a biblical view of the world understands that humans, although created to be perfect, chose to invite sin and evil into the world by their actions, and will continue to struggle with their fallen nature until they are restored to glory upon resurrection. Until then, we must all fight against our base and evil desires, and only with the help of God's Holy Spirit living inside of us are we able to choose correctly.
My condolences to those who have lost a loved one, in Vegas or elsewhere, due to violence. My gratitude to those, in Vegas or elsewhere, who serve and protect our nation in uniformed and first-responder services, who put their lives on the line to protect and assist others. And finally, my open and earnest invitation, to those of varying political and religious persuasions, to enter into a respectful dialogue with me on this or any other issue which our society may face, both now and in the future.