Dear Paul Ryan, Save Your Prayers
Ryan's solution to gun violence? Pray.Credit: DonkeyHotey
June 15, 2017

No Democrat, Republican or Independent in their sane mind thinks that yesterday’s shooting in Washington D.C. that left five injured including Representative Steve Scalise was justified. Using violence to argue your point effectively makes that point moot. No one can hear you when you have a gun in your hand. They cannot even see you, the gun is the sole focus. That shooter’s concerns, his anguish over the direction this country is going in, died along with him. His atrocious actions are all we heard, all we saw and all we will remember of him.

But ideas, thoughts, philosophies, ideologies are bigger than one person, and one person’s insane actions does not represent those concepts alone. One misguided fundamentalist Christian’s actions can no more speak for all Christians as can one suicide bomber claim to speak for all of Islam. The murderous actions of one Trump supporter cannot speak for the whole movement nor can the murderous actions we saw yesterday from a so-called liberal activist.

In times such as these, we seek guidance from our leaders. We require assurances from them that something will be done. Government’s top function is to keep its citizens safe if nothing else. Safe from violence, disease, famine. To ensure that we, as a people, can pursue “life, liberty and happiness” and that our elected representatives will defend these “unalienable rights.”

The guidance given by our leaders to citizens after yesterday’s shooting in D.C. was consistent with what we’ve heard for the last twenty, thirty years: pray. I don’t take this as good advice. It’s flippant, self-serving and degrading. It allows our leaders to shame us, to shame our outrage at their incompetence and ineptitude by invoking God’s name while allowing them to continue ignoring their sworn duties as elected officials.

To be clear, when Speaker Ryan addressed the Congress yesterday, he was not addressing the nation. He was addressing his fellow members of Congress. “An attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us.” He never mentioned those who died at the hands of another American, in yet another mass shooting on that very same day in San Francisco. Neither did Trump in his address to the nation.

Rarely, if ever do they mention the gun violence that Americans encounter from our own families and friends on a weekly basis. Unless that is, it occurs to one of their own or it is so egregious that they are forced to.

Still then, they say, “Pray.” Well I’m tired of praying. I’m tired of good thoughts and positive vibes. I’m tired of them invoking God’s name to just turn around and continue on the same self-serving path they’ve been on. Have they no shame? No honor? No dignity?

Words don't matter. Deeds do.

Our elected officials might consider venturing outside of their bubble for a few hours, a few days and see why Americans are fed up with their lack of leadership. There, our elected leaders will discover that Americans are working fifty, sixty, eighty hours a week to make ends meet.

We have seen our homes repossessed and our savings drained every decade because politicians let their large donors engage in illegal banking and lending schemes, only to shrug their shoulders and claim that no one is responsible and therefore no one can be held accountable.

Congress would see how one family member’s illness can destroy generations because of a lack of affordable healthcare. They would hear how we are tired of seeing those that have rigged the system to their favor steal from us and pay no price. We are exhausted from listening to their political diatribes of how corporations cannot pay their fair share of taxes and benefits.

All the while, they are giving those millions, billions to politicians to rig the system. Millions and billions that could be used for benefits and taxes.

We are not blind. Americans see congressional leaders taking campaign contributions so that businesses may pollute our air, water and land. We are watching as Congress sells out our children’s education to the highest bidders. We see how they are gerrymandering the system so that one party is stronger than the other. We are aware that many of our minority brothers and sisters are being disenfranchised.

Even with everyone (save Trump) agreeing that our election was hacked -- a blatantly aggressive act of war -- our elected officials have taken to making a mockery of the investigation. There is no investigation. There is only wasted taxpayer dollars used to grandstand and pontificate for one’s political leanings while attacking the other. And what has been done? Nothing.

We are still voting with those same systems that cannot even be audited. It’s a f*cking joke. A f*cking shame when our elected leaders cannot even come together to defend us from a foreign adversary.

The government cannot and is not doing its job when it plays political chess with our life, liberty and happiness. It does not function as a democracy when elected leaders refuse to listen to their constituents by evading town halls, phone calls and letters simply because it does not agree with their political ideology. We cannot call our government a democracy when one political party holds secretive meetings regarding healthcare bills and refuses to allow debate.

Who do they serve, anyway?

Congress and the president would do well to remember that they work for us and not themselves. That this is a government by the people, for the people, not by the corporations, for the rich alone or for one party over another. That this is a democracy and not a business or autocracy. That corporations are not people and money is not the answer to everything. That we deserve and demand better representation for our taxation and a truly open government.

So, Speaker Ryan, keep your prayers to yourself as they’ve done Americans no good. God is not listening to you. Neither is America.

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