A monster bursts into a movie theater and sprays a deadly blizzard of bullets into the audience. In the blood-spattered aftermath, 12 lie dead, 59 are injured. The legacy of shock and grief continues.
There is no way to overstate the horror.
The airwaves will relive it for days, perhaps weeks.
Our hearts are broken as we share the tears of the survivors … of the victims’ loved ones… of a community… of a nation. We cannot comprehend the senseless massacre. The 24-year-old shooter remains a macabre and unfathomable mystery.
It seems almost sacrilegious to talk politics at a time like this.
Yet, today in Congress, a horror is unfolding that – in my mind, anyway – rivals the one in Colorado. It is much less dramatic, of course. But it is no less sinister.
Congress is in the process of passing a Farm Bill that would deprive millions of Americans of food stamps, diminish school-lunch programs, eliminate food safety protections, and prematurely force genetically engineered crops onto the market.
The consequences of these cuts would inevitably include hunger, sickness – and possibly death – inflicted on defenseless children as well as hapless adults.
How much suffering can we expect in the wake of this legislation?
And who can say what grotesque dangers will accompany genetically engineered crops and farm animals?
What devastating illnesses are likely to come from unsafe food?
The implications of this bill are frightening – and tragic.
But this tragedy will play out quietly in countless private homes beyond the reach of the TV cameras.
Incredibly, the $969 billion bill is loaded with handouts to the rich and powerful – subsidies to non-farming land barons and tax breaks for race horse owners, for example. This largesse is the fruit of billions of dollars spent by special-interest lobbyists to manipulate the political system.
Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro called the legislation “immoral and inhumane.”
“This bill increases subsidies to millionaires,” she pointed out. “This is a bill that robs the poor to pay the rich. This bill is an outrage.”
To me that’s a massive understatement. To me it is much more than an outrage. I would call it criminal.