There must be a better way

Last night a man in Buffalo New York was brutalized by the police. He’s a man with a long history of peacemaking and peaceful protest. He was standing on a sidewalk attempting to peacefully engage police officers when one of them brutally shoved him causing him to lose his balance and fall. As he fell the older gentleman hit his head on the sidewalk and newsreel footage of the incident showed blood running out of his right ear as he lay on the ground. The video was captured by WBFO in Buffalo and in the audio you can hear someone asking for an ambulance for the victim. There is a terse reply that there is an EMT present presumably with the police.

Last week George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police. Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13 in Louisville, another brutal killing that didn’t have to be. She would have been twenty-seven today. All of these are hateful crimes. The officers in Minneapolis have been arrested and charged, two officers in Buffalo have been suspended. No one has been charged in Breonna’s death. The list of killings by law enforcement in the United States is staggering. The first reaction in all of these incidents is retribution and while that might bring temporary relief to the grieving it is not the solution. We can’t break the cycle of violence with more violence. “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” according to Gandhi.

What are the real solutions to all this violence? How can we turn the corner on racism and fear of the other? We need a conversion experience en masse.

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I continue to pray

I was up early this morning and following a shower I dressed and went for a walk. I carry the rosary while I walk and begin each day saying at least one complete Franciscan Crown Rosary. Today I prayed for peace and healing for our torn land. I prayed for our president and other leaders. I prayed for those protesting and those suppressing the protesters. Our country is fractured and it has been for a long time. The problem didn’t begin with the election of Donald Trump nor with Barack Obama. Maybe it began in 1619 when the first Africans were brought to our shores to work on plantations. Maybe it began before then when these men and women were sold into slavery.

Lately the popular refrain is “the killing of Mr. Floyd is terrible but what about the looting.” Most folks can understand the brutality of the murder of Mr. Floyd but they see a disconnect with the looting, arson and other carnage. Some of my social media friends lump the looters and arsonists in with the peaceful protesters. There is ample evidence that the two are not related.

How will this end? Is this the end of the United States? In the past few days there have been disturbing scenes of unidentified riot police in our nation’s capitol. Photos of National Guardsmen standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This is in response to Americans exercising their first amendment rights.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment United States Constitution

Today an eight foot high fence is being erected around the White House. This has never happened before. Not even during the Civil War. The root of the problem lies with fear and ignorance. How can we end the fear and ignorance which spawned the racism and authoritarianism? I’ll keep praying.

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A comic genius

There’s a lot to be concerned about if you’re a citizen of the United States. We’re embroiled in a global pandemic. One hundred and seven thousand of our citizen have died and one million eight hundred thousand are infected with the virus. We are country at war with ourselves with anemic national leadership whose only interest is in re-election in November. Despite all of this there is reason to smile. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of Sarah Cooper. Now I can’t wait to see her latest skit. She’s become very good at satirizing our president using his own words and lip synching them for TikTok or YouTube videos. She’s been on Twitter since 2008 and has a million followers. I wonder how many she had a month ago. She’s recently appeared on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show and also appeared with the Ellen DeGeneres on EllenTube. I listened to one of her interviews and she said these thirty second clips satirizing President Trump take up to five hours to create. She’s one of the people keeping me sane and apparently many others too. Keep up the comedy Sarah!

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The making of man

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An incredible book about an exceptional young man who overcame tremendous adversity to become a comedian without peer. This is a powerful story of faith too. It’s a story about racism too and its devastating effects on society.

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Shelter Us

This has been an apocalyptic day in an apocalyptic time. We have had nearly a week of looting and rioting following the murder of an innocent black man by police in Minneapolis. The country and world are enduring a pandemic and now we are beset by civil strife the likes of which we have not seen in over fifty years. We are descending into chaos and perhaps worse. Tonight our president threatened to send the military into states that did not meet his ultimatum to end the uprising. It’s all bound to fail as only love can conquer hate but our president is not a man who loves anyone. I pray for him everyday. He’s out of his depth. Worse yet we need real leadership at this time in our history and in the world as we grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

People are hurting and sending in the troops is not going to allay their fears nor will it end the strife. It will likely cause the pandemic to worsen. Recently I read that Michael Joncas had released a new hymn in the midst of this chaos. It’s called ‘Shelter Me.’ It’s going to be a classic and maybe it will bring peace to our strife torn country and world. The enemies of peace and freedom seem to be winning tonight.

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Someone who loves you forever

Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie by Carly Simon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great memoir and one that was an easy read especially in the dark days of this pandemic and our nation falling into ruin. The book reminded me of a happier time when the USA was. a place of hope and prominence. Reading this love story was refreshing and brought me joy. I’m sure you would enjoy it.

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Never underestimate Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi by Molly Ball

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting book and one I’m glad I read. It gave me insights about Nancy Pelosi that I would never have known. She’s an incredible person. You have to admire her verve even if you don’t agree with her politics. Lots of insights and information about how she worked with the Congress and the Executive Branch over a career that’s now spanned over thirty years.

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