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Imperfect democracy offers promises

Imperfect democracy offers promises Imperfect democracy offers promises

I recall many years ago, while cleaning out a closet in my home, finding a brightly colored Easter egg that had been hidden in the bottom of a rain boot for some time. It still looked good from the outside, and it didn’t have the slightest odor. In fact, it had been undiscovered for so long it had dried out and was almost hollow. It is easy to overlook a hidden Easter egg amid the gaiety of the holiday.

Sometimes I feel like we forget the message of Easter with all the hustle of the current day. It lays dormant and useless just like that egg in my closet. Certainly, this year we need to be sure we keep in our minds and hearts the hope and assurance of resurrection of life after days of darkness.

Each religious group has its own specific interpretation of the meaning of rebirth in the spring, but, no matter our differences, most of us believe that after a cold dormant winter comes new life and growth.

As I watch the evening news, I am presented some pretty awful sights and facts: COVID’s new variants are on the rise, our environment continues to accelerate its deterioration, political discourse has become divisive and nonproductive, and there is the horrific war the Russians are waging on the country of Ukraine. In discussing these alarming events, a friend observed that we “are just an adolescent species.”

I hadn’t thought of it this way. However, I realize the acts we see in many adults of self absorption, impulsiveness and lack of appreciation and knowledge of the complexities of life are attributes we often attribute to immature teenagers.

My friend continued, “Oh, there are a few adults in the room but often, when we group up, we acquire the mob mentality and throw away our feelings of individual responsibility and civility.”

I recall my friend Zoya, who is of Russian descent, telling me that the inhumane horrors of the Russian war on Ukraine aren’t solely Putin’s control, but the result of the whole brutal nature of the Soviet system. The kind of communities we live in strongly affect what we become.

Right here at home in the United States, we are having a war with rising gun violence. As of April 22, 2022, there have been 13,087 deaths, 10,486 injuries and 147 mass shootings in the United States. Gun violence is the leading cause — ahead of accidents and disease — of children’s deaths in the United States. In the past four months, there have been 480 deaths and 1,167 injuries among those 17 years of age and younger.

What kind of a group mentality do we have and what do we hope for our future?

I think we all want the deaths and injuries caused by guns to stop, but none of us are sure how to do that while, at the same time, protecting everyone’s freedom. It is going to take honest and dedicated study to figure out what will work.

The Indiana State Legislature just passed a bill to eliminate the need to have a license to carry a handgun. There are arguments on both sides of this issue, and it isn’t simple. No statistics have been established yet that will determine the effect on crime. “An IndyStar analysis of FBI crime data showed mixed results, but in a majority of the states reporters looked at, both assaults against officers with a firearm and the rate of aggravated assaults with a firearm had increased” when permits were no longer required. We need to keep alert and track the consequences of this legislation.

Take a look on your computer and see what other states are doing to try to rein in gun violence. On the federal level, there is gridlock in Congress on action dealing with gun violence prevention legislation. Each of us should study the proposals and support what seems most effective for a safe society.

Certainly, this is a dark time in history which often causes us to feel unable to affect change. The messages of the new birth of spring tells us that we exist in a cosmic system of renewal and second chances. We can rise to the occasion and help make our world a better place to live.

Our democracy is not perfect, but is does hold the promise that all people might be free and with equal opportunities for a good life.