What: A gospel response to politicians who offer only thoughts and prayers in the wake of each mass shooting.
Who: Samantha Bee and the Harlem Gospel Choir.
Why we care: It’s like a well-rehearsed dance at this point. A man with an assault rifle opens fire in a public space and steals a lot of lives. Angry people demand, at the very least, the tightest possible restrictions on assault rifles. Politicians offer instead only “thoughts and prayers.” Thoughts, those things you think all the time, perhaps in service of, you know, doing something; and prayers, those spiritual text messages you send to the higher power of your choosing, often in situations beyond your control. Banning or restricting assault rifles is nowhere near beyond those politicians’ control, which is what makes it so frustrating to watch this by now impeccably coordinated—and tragic—dance over and over again.
On last night’s episode of Full Frontal, Samantha Bee took time to address Paul Ryan and his ilk’s thoughts and prayers directly.
“I would love to not talk about gun massacres, but we can’t ignore them,” Bee said, adding, “That’s Congress’s job.”
After a monologue that contextualized the legislative inactivity on universal background checks and other safety measures, Bee switched gears.
“America appreciates your thoughts and prayers, but we need more than that. So, while you all are praying for God’s help, all we can do is pray for yours.”
Coming to Bee’s aid in the prayer department was the Harlem Gospel Choir, who harmoniously harangued politicians for not doing anything other than pray.
It’s a funny musical gag–as well as a stark reminder of prayer’s staggering inefficiency, when legislation exists as an alternative.