Clothed in Immense Power

I happened to be in the office and caught the President live as he addressed the recent mass shooting in Oregon. If you haven't seen it, you really should watch it. It's a powerful moment in his presidency.

I'm reminded of that famous line from the movie "Lincoln" where Daniel Day-Lewis screams: "I am the president of the United States of America, clothed in immense power!" said in frustration because even that power couldn't give Lincoln the result he wanted. There's so much of that in this speech from Obama, that for all his powers of office, he's powerless to stop this on his own. And it breaks his heart.

You can see more of the same the next day as he spoke on it again during a press conference.

"Let’s not forget: This is happening every single day in forgotten neighborhoods around the country. Every single day. Kids are just running for their lives, trying to get to school…When we were down in New Orleans, sitting down with a group of young men, when we were talking about Katrina, and I’ve got two young men next to me, both of them had been shot multiple times. They were barely 20. So we've got to make a decision. If we think that’s normal, then we have to own it. I don’t think it’s normal. I think it’s abnormal. I think we should change it. But I can’t do it by myself." —President Obama on why we have to come together to reduce gun violence:

Posted by The White House on Saturday, October 3, 2015

I hate feeling so pessimistic about this, but to paraphrase something someone said on Twitter: the debate really was over at Sandy Hook. The moment the country was ok with 20 children gunned down in class - without getting violently angry about that... the country is officially ok with anything that comes after that. History will look upon us with the scorn we so rightly deserve.

Because that's the key, until we confront the data and get angry about this, until YOU get angry and embarrassed that this is happening in our country, nothing is going to change. Because we too, every American citizen, is clothed in immense power, if only we choose to use it.

As for me, I'm going to go right now and write a nice letter to Chris Hurst. To tell him that we haven't forgotten about him. That we're thinking about him. That we grieve with him. It's not much, but it's something. If all of us are willing to just do something on this issue, whatever it is, we'll begin to change things.