Guns, Guts, The Senate And The Pope

On any given day, if you squint your eyes and look out toward the horizon, you can see a panoramic picture of the world.

For this day, April 18, I would like to tell you what I see.

I see a world where, if someone actually acts according to their stated beliefs, people seem surprised.

We’re so used to money talking. Ask the flaccid members of the Senate, who voted along party lines against gun control.

When I say “party lines,” I mean skipping the lines at the parties they always attend, in order to pick up money from those who would sell AK-47’s to someone with an IQ below 47.

Why support gun control when you have no guts control?

But today, along came the new Pope to do something unworldly and bizarre, a thing that Senators would laugh at in their private bars and strip clubs.

Pope Francis decided to practice what he preaches.

You know you thought that his “I’m so into poverty” act was just that — an act. Well, today he decided to not give bonuses.

It’s a tradition in Vatican that when a new Pope arrives, one of his first gestures is to hand out money to all the staff.

He’s supposed to shower them with a golden hello.

Pope Francis seems to have thought to himself: “Hold on, I’m the poor-man’s pontiff. I can’t be seen handing around Euros to the bureaus.”

So he didn’t.

The fact that the Vatican is showing something of a loss currently made his decision much easier.

But still, what a touching contrast to the Senate.

Let’s assume that some of them are, at least in a vague sense, representative Americans.


If 90 percent of Americans believe that background checks might be a good idea, you’d imagine that a vaguely similar percentage of the Senate might agree.

You’d also imagine that trees can walk and recite psalms.

The Senate’s members seem to have have precious little interest in what Americans want, feel or believe.

They have far more interest in interest.

But as we watch all this, seemingly powerless, what are we interested in?

Well, we’re very fascinated as to whether Amanda Knox really was reading Harry Potter when her friend Meredith Kercher was having her throat cut.

We’re quite interested to see who planted the bombs in Boston, in a CSI kind of way. Was it an Arab or wasn’t it? We do like our drama.

We’re very moved by the story of Ann Curry and her last days at NBC’s Today Show. Did she jump? Was she pushed? Who pushed her? How high up was she at the time?

And then there’s the new NFL schedule released today.

Who will our teams be playing? Which games will be on TV? How will this affect our fantasy prospects? Will our teams represent us as well as we deserve to be represented?

That’s it, isn’t it? Representation.

Everything to which we choose to commit emotion is something that represents us. Our favorite shows, our teams, our friends, our cars, our jobs and our families.

And when our chosen representatives in the public sphere — be they politicians or religious leaders — don’t represent us as we think they should, we complain.

Our complaining, though, has a familiar ring.

We complain at work when our bosses make our lives a misery and when our sandwiches are stale.

We complain when our favorite TV characters are killed off, shelved, voted off or have sudden personality changes.

We complain when our teams lose, our favorite players get traded and our taxes are raised.

It’s never right, is it?

Sometimes, though, we refuse to realize that those we elect are a far truer representation of us than we admit.

Faced with being one of the millionaires in the Senate, bathing in our rituals, privileges and chauffeurs, would we be any different than the ne’er-do-wells who are there now?

Would we compromise, barter, obfuscate and flat-out lie? Don’t we do that so often just to keep the ordinary jobs that we have?

Oh, no. We’re different. We have morals, principles and a deep sense of what’s right and wrong.

But if that was the case, why do we always complain that we can’t change the world?

Why aren’t we more politically active? Why don’t we join together, march and petition?

Why don’t we consistently vote out those who fail us?

Why, instead, do we complain of their rapaciousness, venality and, yes, cowardice?

Could it be that when the pushing and the shoving meet, we are just as cowardly as the people who represent us?

Could it be, in fact, that they are the perfect representation of who we are?

And not just today.


Image: MrChakaMalaka/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk