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Your Moment Of Zen

Jon Stewart's moment of Zen.

A time for love, a time for hate.
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late.

I am really going to miss Jon Stewart.

He's such a decent person, always there to put things in perspective at the end of our most difficult days. And who could have been a better guest last night than Malala Yousafzai? I needed some healing after the hatred of the Charleston terror attack, and the far-from-adequate response of our media establishment.

And, of course, the cowardice of our NRA-subsidized politicians. I mean, think about this: We live in a country where a five-year-old girl knew to pretend to be dead in a mass shooting. That breaks my heart most of all.

Our president, burdened by the knowledge that these attacks will continue to happen for the foreseeable future, said it beautifully:

Until the investigation is complete, I'm necessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details of the case. But I don't need constraint about the emotions that tragedies like this raise.

I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.

We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency.

And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it'd be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point, it's going to important for the American to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.


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The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.

The good news is I am confident that the outpouring of unity and strength and fellowship and love across Charleston today, from all races, from all faiths, from all places of worship, indicates the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome.

That certainly was Dr. King's hope just over 50 years ago after four little girls were killed in a bombing at a black church in Birmingham, Alabama.

He said, "They lived meaningful lives, and they died nobly. They say to each of us," Dr. King said, "black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely with who murdered them but about the system, the way of life, philosophy which produced the murders. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream.

"And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace."

Reverend Pinckney and his congregation understood that spirit. Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation or to members of their own communities but to all in need. They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption.

Mother Emanuel Church and its congregation have risen before from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times to give hope to generations of Charlestonians, and with our prayers and our love and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now as a place of peace.

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