The following is a prologue to a piece I’m writing which I will call, Our American Spiritual Sickness, wherein I will cast the gun problem as part of a deeper spiritual American problem. It was a short response to the issue of gun control in our country to be expanded a little later in the week.
While I agree with you that we have too many guns in our country, and too many people willing to use them, that is only part of the problem. Like so many other American issues, like our dependence on cars and fossil fuels, that isn’t the whole story. Not by a long shot.
We have a lingering cultural and spiritual sickness that permeates everything we do and everything we are as Americans. It started that way, continued with the slaughter of Native Americans and the ownership of slaves, and continues with the violence in our city streets. We should think long and deep about what it means to be Americans and patriots.
We need to consider exactly what we have done to ourselves with the notions of rugged individualism, manifest destiny, and profit motive. We as a nation are sick, very sick, and we need healing, spiritual healing, more than anything else. We began with violence, separated ourselves from the motherland by violence, settled differences with a bloody civil war, considered human beings as property to be bought and sold and abused, moved beyond some of that with yet more violence, killed some of our best leaders, and now are eating our own children in streets and schools full of blood.
We have blood on our hands, all of us, and until we recognize that and atone for our collective arrogance and violence, we will continue our slippery slide toward the bottom of western civilization. We believe that our religions will save us. They will not. We believe that our guns will save us. They will not. We believe our democracy will save us. It will not. We believe our corporate superiority will save us. It most definitely will not. The only thing that will begin our salvation is to recognize just how wretched we have become as a nation, and take meaningful measures to change.