All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Monday, August 5, 2019

Talking about it, or doing something about it. That's our choice.

Well done is better than well said
Benjamin Franklin

In my four score years and two, I have seen one consistency: lots of talk, little action.

When I was a reporter in Grand Haven back in the 60s and 70s, I could provide the names of people who would attend every city council meeting. These people were exceptionally knowledgeable not only about the workings of the city, but its many problems. They would expound on these matters in local coffee shops, and write letters in the local newspaper. But they never did anything. For all I know, they may not even have been registered voters.

All talk, no action.

50 years later I’m in the prisoner advocacy business. Similar experiences.

As Matt and I left a two-hour meeting 7 or 8 years ago, we decided never again! We knew that those attending this meeting were exceptionally knowledgeable and vocal about corrections issues and problems. But we could see beyond that meeting. Nothing was going to come of it. And it didn’t.

I see that as a major problem today---right now---at several different levels.

I see and feel it in the organized church, where people have lots of criticism, but won’t lift a finger to do anything about it.

Local government still faces the challenges it did back then. Many people know what should be done, but won’t step up to the plate.

In HFP’s work with prisoners, we face all kinds of issues of injustice, cruelty, racism, wrongful conviction, prisoner abuse, exorbitant sentences, unfair rules and regulations. Experts study these matters, write papers about them, give speeches about them, publish articles about them, but I’m here to tell you: Despite all the talk, the wheels of progress and change are barely rolling.

On the national level, the people of this nation so far this year have tolerated an average of 1.4 mass shootings a day. Following last weekend’s carnage, once again everyone’s talking. Besides “thoughts and prayers,” we’re pointing fingers at people and problems. Tune in to any news channel or newscast, and you’ll hear experts who know exactly what the problems are. And that’s precisely where everything stops.

I promise you, in a few days, we’ll hear reports of another shooting. There was no caboose on those in El Paso and Dayton. Sadly, there’ll be more thoughts and prayers, more rhetoric, and more talk about what should be done.

From issues on the lowest level to the highest level, lots of words, not much action.

Said Leonardo da Vinci: "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." 

Talk doesn’t cook rice
~Chinese Proverb