No More “Thoughts and Prayers”

I have a friend in the Bay Area who emails me cartoons that are political as well as funny. Last week, he sent me a cartoon showing a machine gun going “blam blam blam” under the caption “Semiautomatic.” Then, under the caption “Fully Automatic,” a man labeled “Congress” continuously says “Thoughtsandprayersthoughtsandprayersthoughtsandprayersthoughtsandprayers.”

I thought this cartoon was extremely clever, and I immediately associated it with the words so many of our politicians say after another tragic shooting of students, or other innocent people, by a crazy gunman with a semiautomatic weapon.

In today’s world, I see “My thoughts and prayers go out to you” as code words that sound nice and sort of holy but really say something like this: “I’m sort of sorry your kid got murdered or wounded by going to school but not sorry enough to rein in the National Rifle Association or change any laws. After all, the NRA is our bank, and our bank is a hell of a lot more important that your dead kid.” In short, this thought means nothing more than “I don’t care!”

I keep thinking of one congresswoman who allegedly received over a million dollars from the NRA and has done nothing about the mass killings. Yikes!

School massacres happen almost weekly in our country, yet not one new gun control law has been passed, nor has the NRA been slowed down an iota, nor has anyone suggested that killing innocent young children is not a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

As a “religious” person, I have heard the phrase “My thoughts and prayers go out to you” for years. Up until now, these words expressed deep sympathy for some tragedy in someone’s life. I have used these words myself. But I won’t anymore!

Politicians have trivialized this phrase to such a degree that I find it offensive. These same do-nothing politicians have also trivialized their offices and the Second Amendment. I often wonder why we even have a Congress when people seek election not to make our country better but to feather their own nests.

I have the same reaction when politicians end their speeches with “God bless America.” Does that include Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America? Or just the United States of America? Does it include all Democrats, Republicans, Green Party members, and independents? How about the socialists, the Tea Party, or the communists?

Whose god are these politicians asking for a blessing? The Jewish one, the Muslim one, the Scientologists’ one, the Mormon one, or one from another religion?

And how is this “blessing” to be delivered by whatever god brings blessings?

What’s even sadder is that if politicians fail to say this trite, meaningless phrase, their whole career could be ruined.

I have some ideas for more honest phrases. Instead of “God bless America,” politicians could say “Get out and vote” or “God bless me so I can win, and while you’re at it, please give my opponent a life-ending disease” or “May God help the United States build a special bomb so we can wipe Iran (or any country we choose) off the face of the earth.”

I’m getting silly but not quite as silly as “thoughts and prayers” or “God bless America.” Any thoughts?


Image courtesy of Portland Seminary (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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