[an unapologetically serious post]
Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, and his famous catchphrase ‘so it goes’ from Slaughterhouse-Five keeps ringing in my ears today. The phrase has been misconstrued to mean apathy or acquiescence to moral and political evils, but it would be more accurate to say the phrase represents randomness and death – even feelings of fatalism and absurdity. However, regardless of which interpretation(s) of the phrase you choose, the definition will ring true today.
There are elements of the absurd, the fatalistic, and the immoral in all of the events that led up to this morning’s massacre. But, Jay Carney, in nothing can I find the need for silence.
While the grief of a tragedy as singular as what happened today is painfully and rightfully acute, the conditions that create massacres like the ones in Connecticut, in Aurora, in Tucson, and so forth, are chronic and pernicious. It is a political and moral disservice to the American people – AND to the grieving process – for representatives of the administration to state that today, at the height of our awareness, is not the day to discuss gun control policy. The debate and the grieving process are, after all, not mutually exclusive – nor should they be. Not only are days like today the ones we should be discussing gun control most forcefully, we should also be debating and taking action on the availability of mental health care and general welfare services in America, and on the symbiotic cultures of violence, disrespect, and apathy that increasingly permeate our political and personal spheres. Delaying dialogue – to say nothing of action – until emotions are less charged is one of the best ways to preserve the status quo.