Mass shooting scorecard for the last month: July 28: Gilroy Garlic Festival (4 killed); August 3: El Paso, Texas Walmart (20 killed); August 4: Dayton, Ohio, outside a bar (10 killed) 

We’ve grown numb to these shootings. We’ve seen this movie before. The responses are predictable: outrage from the left; thoughts and prayers from the right. No action from Congress. Then on to the next story. 

The latest spate of killings has forced even recalcitrant GOP members of Congress to agree to discuss gun reform measures. Ever mindful of the financial angle, Trump first consulted with the NRA about the matter and emerged stating that the “NRA’s views will be fully represented on gun reform talks.” Then, natch, he totally backed off. Why am I not surprised? Thirty-four innocent people killed in three mass shootings and the President of the United States is most concerned that an organization that makes guns and funds Republicans rules the day.  This is who Trump is as a person. This is where we are as a nation. 

I yearn to embrace a leader who works to unite us, not divide us; someone who can put nation over party; principle over power. 

I yearn for a leader who respects the freedom of the press and the independence of the judicial system and the rights of people to stand up to dictatorial practices and policies without being bullied or shut down. 

I yearn for a leader who is respected by our allies and not played by our adversaries.  

I yearn for the day when we can come together again as Americans. Not as “white Americans” or “Christian Americans” or (fill-in-the-blank) Americans, but as Americans, people of all races and religions and viewpoints who believe in the promise of the American dream, who revere such old-fashioned American concepts as truth and honor and character and democracy. 

I yearn for the day when we can engage in civil conversations about what we share in common and where we disagree. I can’t recall a time when America has been so polarized, Republicans versus Democrats, Trump supporters versus Trump haters. Speaking for myself, I simply don’t understand why the vast majority of Republicans still support Donald Trump. It makes no sense to me. 

As David Frum wrote in the Atlantic, “…this presidency shames and disgraces the office every minute of every hour of every day. And even when it ends, however it ends, the shame will stain us still.”  How can my views of what it means to be an American and what I seek in a leader be so diametrically opposed to those of the people who still support Trump? I have no answers. Only bafflement. And sadness. 

I yearn for a Congress which can work to solve the major issues of the day, such as immigration and health care and the opioid crisis and climate change and on and on. 

I yearn for a system, which rewards members of Congress for working towards the common good, not just for raising vast sums of money to get re-elected. On that front, I have yet to hear a good argument against Congressional term limits. 

I yearn for the abolishment of the electoral college system, so that every person’s vote counts the same. I abhor a situation in which a person can be elected President while losing the popular vote by a.large margin. 

Maybe I should stop yearning and just start accepting the new normal, the new national ethos under the likes of a person like Donald Trump. But I just can’t do it. This country and our collective future means too much to me. And I know that I’m not alone. Meanwhile, my car will sport a bumper stick that simply reads, “Basic Decency, 2020.” 

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected] 

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