Two days, two more videos of two more police officers shooting black men. There has been and will continue to be all kinds of reactions. Injustice. Lament. Anger. We can only hope that some day there will be repentance and forgiveness. Nothing short of a miracle is needed for grace to find its way into these tragedies.
My feeling is one of emptiness. Particularly, we in the United States experience leadership emptiness. As injustice rolls on, leadership is empty. Missing. It is as if there are two games happening. The country is playing the game of the century, struggling to win with blood, sweat and tears. The national leadership is not playing down on the same field or coaching from the sidelines or even cheering in the stands; the national leadership is far away in a smokey room playing strip poker, betting with hedged fortunes in a high-stakes game for media coverage and power grabs.
Game on. Syria and much of the Middle East are coming apart. Millions of humans are suffering. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying. Europe is breaking at the seams. Russia is opportunistic. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan has only his boxer briefs left on. Donald Trump just doubled down, defending his use of the Star of David in an attack ad against Hillary Clinton. Ryan folds, in attempt to protect his last chip, unwinding Obamacare, because that’s winning the game. Right?
I fully recognize my naiveté. Yet for the life of me, I cannot understand why in the United States there is no leader on the order of Lincoln or Roosevelt or Eisenhower or Kennedy willing to set up right now.
That is my gripe. But I want to end on a more positive note.
Humans flourish. Even in the bad times, people are remarkable. Grief is remarkable. Forgiveness is remarkable. Like the numbers of stars in the night sky, everywhere we look on earth there are lights shining in human acts of kindness and celebration and creativity. I confess I do not look at the marvel of the night sky as often as I want to and should. Neither do I turn my attention enough to the bright lights of human flourishing.
My sense is not so much that we need new things. New stuff. New legislation. New programs. New bureaucracies. New technologies. Rather, we need to amplify the flourishing already happening all around us.
When we respond to challenges by first assuming the fix involves adding something new, we miss an opportunity to amplify an existing solution. We live in a time of muted answers, quieted flourishing. I will have more to say about this soon.