This weekend, the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. While accusations and speculations fly regarding the suspected (and now-deceased) perpetrator’s motivations, scores of families have seen their sons and daughters become cable news chyrons. And they are in pain.
But how should the rest of us deal with it? That depends on who you are.
If you’re a younger writer, your job is pretty simple. Though your bio on Twitter may say something like “I write words for places about money on NatSec and stuff. Pizza eater. Window closer. Blanket hog,” you’re not writing words for places for money about NatSec anymore. Not now.
No, with the nation emotionally raw and looking for bogeymen to blame for such pain, you have a very special job: Find the most adorable but viral animal videos and caption them with something like “I think we all need a little bit of this today…”
The older writer’s job is more difficult. Having lived through every tragedy — from the Challenger explosion to, yes, 9/11 — we seasoned Gen Xers and Baby Boomers bring our nerves of steel to these all-too-common atrocities. That means we older writers carry the weight of the world on our shoulders…in the form of articles.
Sharing articles. Commenting on articles. Writing articles. The only real buffer we have between innocent people just trying to live their lives and armed madmen? Articles.
Republicans want you to believe this is the work of radical Islamic terrorists. Democrats want you to blame our violent gun culture and homophobia. How could you know who’s right and who’s wrong without articles by brave writers (like yours truly)?
We are the referees who pick the winners and losers of the debate. In our finest moments, we have the courage to tell you that both sides need to find common ground with bipartisan compromises — like making both guns and Islam illegal; or mandating all gays convert to Islam in order to build tolerance from the inside. Solutions like these take a little from the left and a little from the right. (Like I always say, it takes two chefs to make a stew!)
So in the confusion and sorrow that followed the news from Orlando, we thinkpiece writers didn’t get scared for long. By mid-afternoon there was very little cowering, as the entire Fact Friends team assembled on Skype to plot our responses from our various hiding places/elevators we were trapped in. We agreed to put aside our fears, our petty rivalries, and our bad blood with various process-disrespecting candidates.
So in the name of Patriotism, I offer a truce to my rivals Chris “The Fix” Cillizza and Nathan “Numbers Coward” Silver.
I offer this peace in the hope that if we can put aside our differences, so can our bickering elected officials. For the good of the country, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should end their partisan campaigns and join forces in a unity ticket for President. Or, better yet, they should drop out, paving the way for brawny war hero moderates Jim Webb and Lindsey Graham to give America and her writers the gun control/terrorism debate we deserve.
Chris, I am willing to look past the fact you tried to assassinate me with a backstabbing hit piece. Nathan, I am willing to look past your many failures as a forecaster. I’ll be the bigger man. An apology and notarized admission of my superiority as a pundit are all I request.
Today, the Fact Friends rose to our challenge as writers. Will you, as readers, do your part too?
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet to @carl_diggler.
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