No one would consider the Costa Rican people to be out of touch. They're busy making things, preparing food, tending gardens and fixing things. They care for their children. Every small town has its own small school, neatly kept. It is not uncommon to find old cars operating on the highways beyond their years. They are kept clean and in working condition well past the time in which Americans would abandon them to the heap.
Yesterday’s events in Arizona, USA are disturbing. I have kept isolated from events in the US during the last week, and up until the shooting of an American congresswoman, I have done pretty well to put aside my deep concerns for the appalling quality of political discourse in the US. It is as though no one knows how to use their words in kindness, and too few know that words can incite those who are unstable to do horrendous things. I have hopes that all of this tragedy brings a renewed faith in reasonable dialog.
I want to talk about a few things. The first is that the shooter in Arizona probably suffers from mental problems. That is an assumption on my part based on the idea that no one in his or her right mind would do such horrendous things. The second thing I want to address is that it seems very apparent that sick minds are often drawn to gun violence and yet we do absolutely nothing to keep guns and ammunition out of such dangerous hands. Our video games and television programs have given substance to the delusion that addressing problems through gun violence is natural to those who have reached some kind of edge in their perceptions. The third thing is that some in our American politics believe in the glorification of guns as a political tool and part of natural political rhetoric. There is a huge shame to be associated with those who knowingly or unknowingly incite the dim, the dull, and the mentally ill with rhetoric or visual imagery that has the potential of leading to horrendous acts. If anyone is so naive as to believe that putting a congresswoman’s image behind cross hairs of a rifle sight in advertising is not incendiary rhetoric, they should be ashamed of their stupidity and should never to be trusted with power in the American political system.
The hands have a way of making whole. They fix, they make, they create and they serve. they plant, tend, nourish and protect. And the great shame of our American culture is that we have deprived hands of their dignity and greatest purpose, that of restoring and balancing our souls. Make, Fix, Create, Tend, Nourish, Heal.
Pura Vida is the Costa Rican national motto which means pure life. It also means something gentle that is too often lacking in the US.