This hit me a couple of days ago. I know many have mocked the concept of “thoughts and prayers” because it feels so hollow. Including me.
Seriously, if we have a school shooting? Thoughts and prayers.
Bombing? Thoughts and prayers.
Tornado wipes out a town? Thoughts and prayers.
Pandemic kills thousands around the world and then comes here? …
Black man killed by cop kneeling on neck? …
…well, the Dumps didn’t use the phrase exactly, but it was in their tweets and press appearances the first day of Mr. Floyd’s death.
The difference is–other than the lack of the direct phrase–I didn’t see a whole flock of politicians rushing in to spew the same thing out to the public this time.
Perhaps it’s the insanity we’re living in now, with so many dead or dying from a contagious illness for the past several months. Empathy may well be nearing burnout as the death toll rises with no end in sight, as we’ve been on adrenaline and trying to take care of our own as best we can.
Still, maybe the onslaught of angry memes about this phrase in the past few years must have helped destroy it.
And I’m not the only one to see it.
I did some quick searching to see if I could find anything and there are a few articles that are just scathing regarding the idea of just saying “thoughts and prayers” at a time like this. One’s from the ACLU, another from Forbes magazine (that one indicates how and where to donate to causes that help accountability laws and practices, among other things).
Beyond those initial days of the stories breaking, I haven’t seen another mention of thoughts and prayers. I think the eruption of protests in every state has laid it to rest, at least as a statement public figures can get away with saying to the American people.
This eruption screams “do something!” Not “pray about it.” I know, it’s a saying so common it’s practically secular, a supposedly positive action that’s meant to symbolize that you’re being thought about.
But it’s hollow for the situation we’re in now. Too damned hollow; the problem has just kept trucking along like in the past few centuries.
I think all we’ve learned this past month–and that terrible video–made it apparent that there’s no thinking and praying this away.
I think people didn’t say it much regarding Mr. Floyd’s death because it would’ve been revealed a hypocrisy: How does a person extend “thoughts and prayers” in regards to a person or group they’ve never really let themselves think about, let alone pray for before?
That’s a problem we’re facing–the need to listen to each other and try to understand instead of holing ourselves up in our corners.
I wonder, though, does this mean we can finally see the end of “thoughts and prayers” spewed out en masse?
Floor’s yours… wonder what you’re thinking…