In a Country That Has Lost Its Mind

Eleven dead and counting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

I grew up in Pittsburgh (age 11–18). My high school played sports against the high school in Squirrel Hill where this shooting took place today. What happened there is yet another tragedy in a string of gun-violence tragedies in a country where gasoline is being poured on existing nationalist fires by a demagogical president. I resent the disturbing familiarity of the phrase “Senseless Act of Violence” for failing to capture the absurd tragedy of the mounting losses. How do you capture in words what no longer makes sense.

There is a sickness a-foot and it’s time now to move beyond our anxiety and fears into the full recognition of what is here. A friend and father of two young children who has shared my anxiety this past two years said to me earlier this week “It’s grown-up time”. Time to be awake, to do some straight-thinking, straight talking, straight walking in a crooked, volatile and truly dangerous moment in our country’s history.

It really sunk in for me this week how much the US is manifesting a pre-WWII Germany mentality. I know many have been saying it and, until recently, I have empathized but have also rationalized it is not *that* bad. Not yet.

Hitler rose to power in a country where the German citizenry was feeling such deep insecurity about its identity following the fall out and shaming of WWI. He did this in a “proud” country full of “patriotic” citizens that felt the need to defensively defend against shame TO THE CORE. There was so much insecurity, so much of a need to re-gain pride, so much desire to be “great again”. Continue reading “In a Country That Has Lost Its Mind”