Usually I try to leaven my writing with a chuckle or occasionally outright laughing, because no matter what the subject, there is usually something funny to observe.

Certain events so bruise the human sense of right, that it is in some intensely basic way, not something to approach in a silly, lighthearted or humorous way. The Holocaust comes to mind. So, too, do El Paso, Texas (22 dead); Dayton, Ohio (nine dead); Virginia Beach, Va. (12 dead); Aurora, Ill. (five dead); Thousand Oaks, Calif. (12 dead); Santa Fe, Texas (10 dead); Parkland, Fla. (17 dead); Sutherland Springs, Texas (26 dead); Las Vegas (58 dead); Orlando (58); Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, etc., etc., etc.

I wonder how long it will be before we are herded through metal detectors, body scanners and ion-mobility spectrometry (to discover what chemicals we have been hiding in our luggage) before we are allowed to enter any public space.

I want to thank our great leader, our guiding star of the 21st century, for his excellent job of inciting his followers and sycophants to help rid our country of the invaders, rapists and criminals (please excuse me if my sarcasm dripped onto your floor). If anyone thinks that this rhetoric of division, hatred, misogyny and ultra-nationalism has no impact or importance, I would request they examine the issue more closely.

People who truly believe that we are being literally invaded by illegal immigrants who are mostly terrorists, rapists and criminals will begin to feel justified in acting to stop it. It seems problematic whether or not written words will provide an anodyne to the fear that those people are acting upon. Being an optimistic person, I believe in not giving up.

Our local newspaper delivers useful and interesting local content, as well as engaging in investigative reporting as much as possible. With both its print and online editions, these words may reach thousands of readers every week. So what everyone writes matters, which is why encouraging these exchanges of thought can be helpful.

Even though it seems unlikely that many of the people with whom I wish to dialog or persuade to consider an alternative view, ever read my writings, the hopeful part of me continues to write on.

The response of not reading is understandable because most of us are selective and tend to read the people with whom we agree, more than the thoughts of those whose beliefs are polar opposites of our own views. But I do read and listen to these alternative views, hoping I can keep my mind open enough to consider what they are saying; likewise, I hope others may consider what thoughts I share. But, as Mark Twain said, “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.”

So it would seem relevant to request that both democrats (approx. registered voters 8,100) and republicans (registered voters 11,300) consider whether or not the current administration needs to do something to address the problem of mass shootings in our country. It is important to note that there have been about 290 mass shootings this year which puts us firmly in the lead for the country with the most people whose lives have been cut short by bullets from handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles. So now, besides having more people incarcerated than any other country, we also have more people killed in mass shootings. These are issues that we probably should not become numb to.

The upcoming election will provide voters an opportunity to change the trajectory of our country. The choice seems clear: continue down the path of making corporations and other rich folks richer, continue the nationalism and xenophobia that will tear our country further apart, proceed further with the dismantling of most social safety nets, have health care that will be unaffordable for average people, and perhaps most importantly, discover that we have traded faux security for ever-increasing surveillance by a government that eventually will look more fascist than democratic.

The other choice may not be immensely better because there has always been corruption, but there may be less of it. In addition, there is likely to be some compassion toward regular folks and less tearing families apart, as well as an administration that won’t be consorting with leaders who wish to do nothing less than destroy our democratic experiment. Time will, as always, tell.

Kevin Wychopen is a semi-retired school counselor and columnist for the Enterprise. Contact him at itsabigworld@live.com.

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