Viewpoint

The politics of tragedies reminds me of a song

By Keith Larson - Special to the Observer editorial board

Irene and Kenneth Hernandez and their daughter Miranda Hernandez say a prayer in front of crosses placed in a field in Sutherland Springs, Texas, to honor those who were killed in Sunday's mass shooting.
Irene and Kenneth Hernandez and their daughter Miranda Hernandez say a prayer in front of crosses placed in a field in Sutherland Springs, Texas, to honor those who were killed in Sunday's mass shooting. AP

Much of what’s been in the news lately, and the response to it from our so-called leaders, has me hearing an old song.

In the hours after hundreds of shots rained down on country music concertgoers in Las Vegas last month, many on America’s Left swiftly called for more gun control.

President Donald Trump responded, “It’s a little bit too soon to go into it.”

A month later, only a few hours after a man who turned out to be a terrorist drove a rented truck down a busy Manhattan bike path, Trump took to Twitter declaring he had “just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.”

“Being politically correct is fine, but not for this,” Trump said, blaming the Diversity Lottery System and Democrat Chuck Schumer for letting the killer into the country.

Schumer tweeted at Trump, “I guess it’s not too soon to politicize a tragedy.” He chided the President for dividing America, and said he believes immigration is good for the country.

Then Sunday, as our startled eyes turned to a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, New York Gov. Chris Cuomo led the Left in swiftly calling for gun control.

“We cannot accept mass shootings as part of who we are,” Cuomo said. “This can and must stop.”

President Trump said the killing of 26 unarmed worshippers by an Air Force reject with a semi-automatic rifle “isn’t a guns issue.”

Is this the best we can do in this country? Politicians who pander to us – to both the Left and Right among us – and who turn terrible tragedies into bait?

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Keith Larson Amelia Catherine Photography

They smack serious, often life-and-death issues back and forth in a never-ending game of tennis, the server and receiver determined by the general politics of the issue. Gun violence, Left Serve; Crime by an Immigrant, Right Serve. The objective of their game is not to win an issue on actual points, but to hold court through the next election.

Is this the best we can be in this country? People who fall for these patronizing “public servants” simply because they play to our personal prejudices?

Fans sit courtside in a hypnotized stupor looking left, right, left, right; cheering when their guy makes a point but never really knowing the score. And pundits, who are merely parrots, crying foul only when the other side hits out of bounds.

The “stuff” never stops swirling. And it has a classic tune running through my brain:

“Oh the Games People Play, now.

Every night and every day, now.

Never meaning what they say, now.

Never saying what they mean.”

A great writer, Joe South. He knew how to deliver a poke in the eye where it was deserved. Joe wrote that song at the height of the politically turbulent 1960s.

“Talking ‘bout you and me,

And the Games People Play.”

He wasn’t just poking the politicians.

Observer contributor Keith Larson can be heard on “The Larson Page” weekdays at Noon on AM 730 Radio Charlotte, and TheLarsonPage.com.

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