Some things are so obvious. And yet, here we are, living in a surreal world where upside-down laws are passed, actions are taken and inaction persists no matter how senseless—how mad—much of this may be.
But rather than accept that the following facts are part of our inevitable, unavoidable, necessary-to-tolerate reality, perhaps we don’t need to assume this is “how it is.” Or this is “how the world works.” Because that assumption only stands—only lingers like a rotten vegetable—if we choose to believe these mad facts can’t be changed. So let’s begin with this partial list:
1—Vladimir Putin is murdering children & refuses to stop.
2—Billionaires added $5 trillion to their wealth during the pandemic.
3—Donald Trump is not restricted from running for President again.
4—Fully vaccinated people are 93.4 percent less likely to die from COVID-19 than unvaccinated people, yet millions of Americans still refuse to get vaccinated.
5—Nearly half the country requires no permit to carry a concealed weapon—and that number is increasing.
6—There are more guns in America than there are Americans—and that number (nearly 400 million) continues to grow.
7—Twenty children, just six and seven years old, and six adults were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, yet the particular horror of that or other mass shootings have failed to motivate Congress to act.
8—A Tennessee bill would allow the family, friends or neighbors of a rapist to stop his victim from getting an abortion.
9—The Texas anti-abortion law does not make exceptions for rape or incest.
10—Despite knowing the existential danger of increasing CO2 levels, carbon emissions are continuing to rise at record levels.
11—Arizona has over 300 days a year of sunshine, yet the state only relies on the sun’s rays for 8 percent of its energy.
12—The Constitution’s First Amendment explicitly asserts freedom of religion, yet high-profile Republicans are advocating for a Christian theocracy.
13—The expanding Republican response to the original sin of slavery, which continues to influence life in America today, is to pass laws denying classroom discussion of white supremacy or systemic racism.
14—A growing number of GOP-run states have passed or are seeking to pass bills to stop classroom discussion of gay identity.
15—Private businesses are allowed to operate for-profit prisons with a vested interest in seeing those incarcerated populations grow.
16—Members of Congress who were elected by democratic process are bent on suppressing voting rights and ending that democratic, one-person-one-vote process.
17—Members of Congress who participated in inciting or otherwise assisting the deadly insurrection and coup attempt of January 6 are still roaming free in the very building where the crime was committed.
18—Despite the thousands of videos and the live broadcast of the brutal, deadly Capitol attack, members of Congress continue to claim it was no big deal.
19—A man who occupied the White House betrayed his country in 2018 by rejecting US intelligence agencies and backing Vladimir Putin.
20—That same man helped Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman cover up the bone-sawing murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, emphasizing that Saudi Arabia buys US weapons.
21—Attorney General Merrick Garland still has not charged Donald J. Trump with any crime.
As I noted at the beginning, this is not a complete list. Sadly. Perhaps you have others you’d like to share. Perhaps you’d like to ask your friends or colleagues what they would add to this list. Maybe you’d like to question some of my choices. Have at it.
My goal is to keep expanding this core list in the coming months. Because if we don’t look at what makes no sense—no matter how much we tend to think it can’t be altered—then this is the reality that will continue to define our world. We will be stuck. And each of us will be responsible for that terrible fact.
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Photo art by Michieru.
Americans define "freedom" as not having to wear a prophylactic mask during a killer global pandemic. Ukrainians are showing us in one horrific scene after another what FREEDOM really means and how much it is worth!
It is a long list of brokenness in our country and in our world. Although we are not obligated to solve all of the problems, we are obligated to ACT to start the process of repairing our world, tikkun olam, in the Jewish faith.