Let’s pretend violence is incomprehensible. Let’s pretend that the problem with guns isn’t about a lack of background checks or the extreme availability of weapons but with crazed madmen and an unabridged desire to kill people. Let’s pretend there is no relationship between NRA public relations and gun lobbying on Capitol Hill and the fact that Congress refuses to change gun laws even though 92 percent of Americans want to see universal background checks.
Let’s pretend that bombing the finish line of a marathon is a great time to check to make sure that Tagg Romney is okay. Let’s pretend that the well funded news machine isn’t in competition with people’s photos posted on Twitter and Instagram. Let’s pretend that it’s okay to put out any garbage about the calamity still happening in Beantown and call it news–unchecked, unverified, unconnected with any journalistic integrity. Let’s pretend that social media doesn’t morph into one huge trigger for the survivors of 9/11, Newtown, Aurora, the London Underground, or the Madrid bombings. Let’s pretend though that the sight of blood on the sidewalk in those Twitter photos is even more gruesome to American viewers because our regular news is so sanitized, while bombings are a near-daily occurrence in places all over the world.
Let’s pretend that we’re not about to descend into politicized name-calling from both parties about Patriot Day and intelligence failures and President Obama’s failures as a leader. Let’s pretend that there won’t be spotlighted Senate hearings at taxpayer expense to examine how bombs could go off on US soil while we were celebrating achievement and American exceptionalism. Let’s pretend we’ll have a helpful conversation about violence and what fuels such anger among some people that they would take to calculating explosions at a sporting event. Let’s pretend those conversations will get us anywhere better as a people.
Let’s pretend this will never happen again. Let’s pretend we can avoid telling our kids about what happened today, lest their worlds be interrupted by bombs and selfishness and dismemberment and bloody shards of glass. Let’s pretend we have some hope of healing and not descending into finger-pointing and a series of cruel memes on the Internet.
Let’s pretend it’s yesterday, or the day before PanAm 103 exploded in the air over Scotland. Let’s pretend we can stay in the 5 minutes after we woke up this morning where all we were thinking about was our first cup of coffee and the lovely feeling of hot water streaming out of the shower. Let’s pretend we can turn off news of this tragedy and just look out at the spring day and the tulips across the street even if all we can muster is a weak smile.
Let’s pretend these families will find solace and recovery and strength from their communities, and when they lobby their elected leaders to improve the lives of the rest of us, that we listen to them because they earned their position of advocacy in the hardest way.
Let’s pretend to be a country with interest in each other.
And maybe then we can move on to someplace new.