America must be wondering what it has done to deserve so many tragedies on its land in so short a time – a week and also a year.
The week has seen the suffering of Boston and of West, linked by terrorism and the material of terrorism, and terrorism again in the form of ricin-laced letters being sent to leading politicians; the year has seen the Sandy Creek shootings, Hurricane Sandy and the Aurora killings: it all seems very unfair, doesn’t it? Americans have been tested, and from my point of observation the communities have been magnificent in their response, but politicians have not always fulfilled their promises as the homeless and destitute on the East Coast await long-promised aid still, and gun control measures are blocked by Senators in Congress.
The months to come will be sad and difficult for the many who are the victims, directly or indirectly, of all this violence however it was caused, but the major challenge will be for President Obama who simultaneously must comfort and reassure, and show leadership in and control of the different situations confronting his people. For a leader who is unpopular and who can seem remote as well as weak, it is an opportunity to prove himself but also has the potential to expose his flaws and weaknesses, making America even more divided than it is already.
Wisdom and truth will be key: if he makes false promises and misleads for personal or political gain, it will be uncovered and it will not go well for him, but if he works to heal his country with calm focus and clarity and always for the highest good, much can be achieved. Meanwhile the world remembers the innocent who have been so badly hurt twice this week in two American communities – and, perhaps, the many others in Syria and Iraq and in other places of conflict, also innocent and who die terribly, daily.