Two months before his own assassination, on the night Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was campaigning for president in Indiana when he offered words of sorrow, unity and calm to a devastated crowd. He quoted the Greek playwright Aeschylus saying, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
As the nation struggles to make sense of the senseless tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, calls for action resound from the grief-stricken, the television talking heads, the political class as well as ordinary Americans shocked by the horror.
Most are missing the simple power of the line Mr. Kennedy chose at another dark moment in our history.
Too many Americans are neither seeking wisdom nor God’s grace in their lives. The only way to address the societal decay that devours lives all around us is to realize that this is an era of spiritual degradation that impacts our hearts, minds and actions.
Wisdom would lead us to acknowledge that mental and emotional health must be a priority for our nation. That social media, the internet and screen time generally are exacerbating the problem. Wisdom would lead us to acknowledge that gun control measures don’t stop gun violence. That allowing qualified teachers to carry concealed weapons should be considered more broadly.
That armed, plain-clothes officers in schools are necessary and affordable. Stricter laws that impute liability to parents who fail to prevent guns from falling into the hands of their children or getting an at-risk child mental health assistance should also be considered.
Wisdom would tell us that engaged two-parent families are necessary to help ensure the emotional growth and stability of children.
Wisdom is diminished by information management and dependency that are becoming the hallmarks of society.
A mass shooting is the extreme manifestation of behavior like vandalism and looting, hateful social media posts, malicious bullying and expressions of uncontrollable rage in supermarkets or airports, all of which have become often excused societal behavior. Life has become cheaper and disposable. According to Pew Research, in 2020 54% of gun deaths in the U.S. were suicides.
President Joe Biden demands action but has no workable plan. A new poll from Rasmussen this week, in the wake of the Tops supermarket shooting in Buffalo that killed 10, showed that 50% of those polled were unconvinced that more gun control laws would prevent such tragedies.
Wisdom would mean lawmakers acknowledging the hard truth that legislating away evil has never worked. That’s wisdom drawn from data and experience. This crime wasn’t about theft or money. This was a crime committed by a tortured soul.
That brings us to the grace of God. We often ask during these gut-wrenching moments where God is amid the carnage. He is still with us, but too many in this country have pushed him away.
The left in American politics, academia, the media and now Big Tech have spent decades secularizing society. The results of moral relativism and suppression of the biblical worldview can be seen in everything from basic behavioral changes to abortion to the multi-gender craze.
Belief in God and appreciating that he gives us purpose in this life leads to greater individual power, a more optimistic outlook and a happier existence. Studies from multiple sources have confirmed the actively religious have stronger families, morals, self-worth and self-control. They value life and the lives of others.
Faith also provides a connection, not just to God but to communities. That prevents the kind of isolation that leads to the despair and depression that is reaching epidemic proportions in our nation claiming lives as well.
The left has demonstrated they will fight efforts to reconnect people with God with greater fervor than they will fight to ban the AR-15. They know that faith in God is what undergirded the people that built the strongest, freest nation on earth. Faithful people will keep it that way by their very nature.
Faith and wisdom, not government and politics, will elevate the nation and strengthen the souls of those who otherwise might turn to drugs, pornography, self-mutilation and violence.
God gives us the ability to learn, to analyze, to grow through his grace.
What we saw in Texas can’t be combatted with a corporeal solution. We’ve abdicated so much of ourselves to technology and government, that we’ve taken steps backward in our evolution. We were created in the image of God and it’s up to individuals to harness that wisdom to help heal the afflictions of the soul.
Opinion by Tom Basile for The Washington Times.