05 June 2014


Another tragedy of significant enough proportion to merit comments from our federal politicians, and I am left cringing and rolling my eyes.

I am not without empathy. The shooting deaths of three RCMP officers and the wounding of two others in Moncton New Brunswick are unspeakable tragedies. I feel awful for their families and outraged that some guy seems to be wandering around armed and not afraid to shoot people. I am no less and no more affected by the untimely death of any person…well, more affected when it is someone I know, for sure.

What outrages me is the automatic glib response of politicians large and small. It usually goes something like this: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.” I don’t for a second think that any of these people saying this actually spend any time thinking about those families, apart from the preparation of their comments, and I don’t know if they spend any time praying for them. As an atheist I don’t really think that prayer stuff means anything, but to each his or her own, I guess.

The transgression is in the automatism. “Thoughts and prayers” fall from the lips like leaves from trees in a windstorm in the fall. Meaningless in its repetition. I can see it getting shortened further, just to take up less time in the busy days of the politicians.

T and P, man.

What might be meaningful is some sort of practical contribution to alleviate the ill effects of the tragedy. Support for those who have lost the principal salary-earner? Trauma counseling? But our politicians seem to be all show and no substance, seizing opportunities to bask in the public attention while taking away the supports that might, say, help returning veterans actually get over their terrible war experiences and return to civilian life. We get war memorials with impressive fly-pasts balanced against pension cuts, inadequate lump sum one-time payments and billing families for funeral costs.

What do I have for those politicians? T and P, man, T and P. In my case, however, T and P means Truth and Plausibility, but I have no confidence that my targets will know what to do with them.


Pierre-Henri said...

Ça me fait penser à ces politiciens français qui ont perdu l'usage du "je" et qui pour dire leur opinion disent "les français".

Ça doit sans doute être dans le "Langage politique 101", que nous n'avons pas.

Ken Monteith said...

Les québécois sont tout à fait en accord avec ce propos. ;-)

zoom said...

I agree with you. Maybe instead of thoughts and prayers, it would be more meaningful if they were to pledge increased funding for mental health services.