Monday, October 19, 2015

Thoughts and prayers

“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.” — President Barack Obama

OKAY, it's not just me then. This from The New York Times with an assist from Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian.

Do Politicians’ ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Mean Anything?

By Mark Leibovich

October 13, 2015

‘‘There’s been another mass shooting in America,’’ President Obama said from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. ‘‘This time in a community college in Oregon.’’ His weary delivery suggested an irksome familiarity with the whole routine. As he spoke, the details of the latest rampage, this one at Umpqua Community College, which took 10 lives (including the gunman’s), were still slow to emerge. But that didn’t stop the go-to refrain from spraying out immediately via statement, news release, Facebook post or however else politicians broadcast how saddened, heartbroken and deeply troubled they are. 

‘‘My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of this terrible tragedy,’’ Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a tweet, part of a thoughts-­and-­prayers parade from presidential candidates that began within minutes of the first Breaking News alerts. Gov. John Kasich relayed ‘‘the thoughts and prayers of Ohioans.’’ ‘‘My thoughts and prayers are with families who lost folks today,’’ echoed Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a statement that kept echoing and echoing from our click-­ready condolence machines.

For a few disgusted moments, Obama removed himself from the numbed role he was in the midst of playing — the solemn president — in order to predict and diminish the tired script everyone was about to read from. ‘‘Our thoughts and prayers are not enough’’ the president said of the expression he himself has used hundreds of times during his presidency. He was not critiquing the sentiment so much as he was verbally rolling his eyes.

Obama’s was a rare presidential salvo against the clichéd nothingness of our political conversation in the aftermath of such palpable horrors. People die in the most senseless of ways on a college campus, and politicians offer the platitude equivalent of ‘‘stuff happens’’ (or the actual words in the case of Jeb Bush). Obama was invoking ‘‘thoughts and prayers’’ as a proxy for the choice of action versus inaction.

He was differentiating the preventable tragedies of gun violence from the acts of God (hurricanes, cancer diagnoses) that occasion the same choruses of ‘‘thoughts and prayers.’’ These empty-­calorie bits of sympathy were ‘‘not enough’’ compared with concrete action — in this case the toughened gun laws Obama favors. Martin O’Malley, a former governor of Maryland and a Democratic candidate for president, took it a step further: ‘‘Tweets won’t stop this,’’ he tweeted. ‘‘Thoughts and prayers won’t, either.’’

Click here to read the entire New York Times article.


  1. Well said! It bugs the daylights out of me - convinces me that they plan to do NOTHING. Go mop their floors, do their laundry, WRITE to your Congressional representatives, mow the lawn, protect all of our citizens. Do SOMETHING even if it's wrong.

    1. What you said: "Do something even if it's wrong!" Yes!!!!