Will we be trans­formed?

The Covington News - - OPINION - BAR­BARA MOR­GAN COLUM­NIST Bar­bara Mor­gan is a Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent with a back­ground in news­pa­per jour­nal­ism, state government and pol­i­tics.

It is a fledg­ling tra­di­tion, but tra­di­tions start some­where. It is be­com­ing a rit­ual for us to set­tle in on suc­ces­sive nights and work our way through a li­brary of Christ­mas movies. There’s “White Christ­mas” with mel­liflu­ous Bing Crosby, an­tic Danny Kay and sump­tu­ous but stiff Rose­mary Clooney who trans­form a fail­ing New Eng­land inn and the for­tunes of its owner, a re­tired gen­eral un­der whom characters played by Crosby and Kay served in World War II.

There’s “How the Grinch Stole Christ­mas,” in which wide-eyed in­no­cent Cindy Lou Who trans­forms the tiny, mean-spir­ited heart of a grime-y Grinch into a throbbing pud­dle of Christ­mas cheer. With­out fail, we en­joy “It’s a Won­der­ful Life” in which the life of du­ti­ful Jimmy Ste­wart as Ge­orge Bai­ley is trans­formed dur­ing a sui­ci­dal Christ­mas Eve cri­sis by the bum­bling an­gel Clarence who teaches Ge­orge the real mea­sure of a life.

We have four dif­fer­ent DVDs of the beloved Charles Dick­ens’ clas­sic “A Christ­mas Carol.” The churl­ish Ebenezer Scrooge is played var­i­ously by a sour Fredric March, charm­ing English­man Alas­tair Sim in a 1951 Bri­tish telling of the tale, a grim Ge­orge C. Scott and a hearty Pa­trick Ste­wart. Who can’t re­cite the chap- ters of the har­row­ing night that trans­forms the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge into a com­pas­sion­ate bene­fac­tor of the Cratchit fam­ily?

If you’ll note, there’s a shared theme in all th­ese beloved Christ­mas movies, and it is “trans­for­ma­tion.” The stage was set for the world to be trans­formed on the first Christ­mas morn­ing some 2,000 years ago, but 19th and 20th cen­tury sto­ry­telling re­made the con­cept of trans­for­ma­tion for pop­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment.

Trans­for­ma­tion is ei­ther some­thing that oc­curs to you or some­thing that you seek. Un­ex­pected cir­cum­stances or oc­cur­rences, fate, if you will, have the power to change, up end, al­ter, di­vert and re-make lives: health prob­lems, a death, a di­vorce, tragedy, an ac­ci­dent, job loss, bank­ruptcy, fore­clo­sure or fi­nan­cial re­ver­sal. On other oc­ca­sions and for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, a per­son may also choose a con­scious trans­for­ma­tion. It can be ap­par­ent in a de­ci­sion to change cour­ses in life, seek a dif­fer­ent path, move, de­velop new habits, di­vorce, marry, adopt, lose weight, stop smok­ing, down­size or go back to school.

We have all equally suf­fered the ex­pe­ri­ence in New­town that has the power to trans­form our lives and the fu­ture of our coun­try. We stand at a cross­roads. We have a pat­tern of erupt­ing in shock, anger and unity as in the wake of 9/11, but to­day we are more di­vided than ever on the com­mon good of this coun­try. Too quickly we slip away into the cozy con­fines of our com­fort­able dens and leave the prob­lem solv­ing to oth­ers, throw­ing rocks oc­ca­sion­ally from the side­lines but never fully en­gag­ing in the work of change. It is the job for highly paid lob­by­ists to de­ter­mine the di­rec­tion of our coun­try. Please, not this time.

My mind, my mind’s eye and my own orbs have not let me closely watch most of the in­tense cov­er­age. They hurt as if ex­posed to noon­day sun af­ter a win­ter’s hi­ber­na­tion. Yet we can­not turn away, can we?

We have been pre­sented with an op­por­tu­nity — though I cringe to con­sider the source — for trans­for­ma­tion. The enor­mity of the crime and the ages of the vic­tims have trans­fixed us, and vows of change and pledges to pre­vent such tragedies swirl around us in a fevered pitch. We will ask con­stant and con­tin­u­ing ques­tions about if and how it might have been pre­vented. We will re­view is­sues of se­cu­rity and safety in pub­lic places, but es­pe­cially schools where we send our youngest and most hope­ful gen­er­a­tions. We will be forced to re­view the sys­tem — if there be a con­sis­tent one — for iden­ti­fy­ing, man­ag­ing and treat­ing men­tal ill­ness in this coun­try. We will be forced to look at the ef­fects of our ob­ses­sion with vi­o­lence and vi­o­lent video games that per­vert and de­stroy the per­cep­tion of the worth of hu­man lives, that al­low trou­bled young men to iso­late them­selves un­til the urge to be rec­og­nized drives them to­ward shock­ing but brief celebrity.

And fi­nally gun own­ers along with those who ab­hor them will, must, con­front the toxic per­ver­sion of the Sec­ond Amend­ment into a steel-clad be­lief sys­tem that puts the rights of peo­ple to own mil­i­tary as­sault weapons over the rights of chil­dren to grow up safely. I be­lieve we have fi­nally iden­ti­fied those miss­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion. They are right here un­der our noses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.