Capable of being, doing better

Has this become a country of half-measures and half-hearted action? Have we excelled and exceeded expectations at just getting by, settling for just falling short of our potential and being satisfied with “whatever”?

Are we good with good enough? Some mornings, it feels that way.

When you wake up to the news that once again there was a mass shooting—this one in Half Moon Bay, California—two days after 11 people were gunned down in the Golden State’s Monterey Park, you wonder if there is a will to change.

These are not the first mass shootings in some time. Frankly, these are just a couple more in an already long list of mass shootings. The Gun Violence Archive reported that in the first 25 days of 2023, there have already been 40 mass shootings nationwide.

Collectively, we shrug. We’ve been going through the motions for a long time. Certainly since 2012 when six and seven year olds were slaughtered at a Florida elementary school. We’ve taken small, incremental steps toward gun control —like passing a law that prevents some people from owning a weapon of mass destruction—but for the most part our collective action has been…meh.

It’s the same approach and attitude we have adopted toward homeless solutions.

We say we want to “solve” and “end” homelessness in our time, and we do just enough to move them along from our parks and canyons into shelters, often understaffed and underfunded, or into the shadows elsewhere. But we don’t reappropriate the investments into the programs that would address some of the causes: mental health or drug treatment, secured living wages, rehabilitation or job training. Instead we hire more police.

To be fair neither of these problems—along with affordable healthcare, systemic racism and poverty—has an easy or overnight solution. They have festered too long to be simple.

Hopefully, though, when we are listening to people campaign or state why they are qualified to hold public office we hear actionable ideas that challenge us all to do better than we have been doing because what we’ve been doing hasn’t been good enough.