Nevada City, CA — California’s picturesque Nevada City is home to Harry Balzac, 45, who is currently mired in a confounding dilemma. Balzac has trouble tracking which cause to pray for, what with the constant stream of news about gun violence and the equally devastating fentanyl crisis.

“I’ve got a lot on my plate, you know?” Balzac said. “Knowing which crisis to pray for on any given day is difficult because there are so many.”

A more significant problem, illustrated by Republican lawmakers in states like Texas, is reflected in Balzac’s bewilderment: the sheer volume of crises confronting the United States and the seemingly fruitless reliance on thoughts and prayers to address them.

Balzac created a prayer schedule alternating between gun control on Mondays and Wednesdays and fentanyl restrictions on Tuesdays and Thursdays to resolve his internal conflict. He dedicates his Fridays to praying for the planet and his weekends to dealing with unexpected problems.

“I don’t want to overlook any of these crucial issues,” Balzac stressed. “So I reasoned that this was the fairest way to distribute divine intervention.”

The Community Tries and Fails to Help

Balzac’s prayer schedule received a mixed response from the locals, despite his best intentions.

Rev. Peter Johnson, a pastor in the area, lauded Balzac’s dedication to spiritual answers. Johnson praised Harry for his “commendable” commitment to praying for the problems.

“His commitment to addressing societal problems from a religious perspective is an example we could all follow.”

Local activist Virginia Muffley disagrees, saying that Balzac’s emphasis on prayer diverges from the need for actual action, especially regarding hypocritical Republican lawmakers like those in Texas who offer only “thoughts and prayers” in response to mass shootings.

“While it’s great that Harry is thinking about these issues, we need to push for concrete legislative changes, not just offer thoughts and prayers,” she argued. “We must not let politicians off the hook by considering their lip service sufficient.”

Balzac Reflects

Even though Balzac recognizes that his proposal of a revolving prayer schedule may not be the best way to solve the nation’s problems, he continues to hold out hope. I realize that praying won’t fix everything, but I can do my part, he said. It’s not like I’m some lawmaker in Texas. There isn’t a whole lot I can do.

As Balzac stumbles through his dilemma, his story mocks Republican lawmakers’ hypocrisy. These politicians quickly denounce the fentanyl crisis while ignoring gun violence. Their “thoughts and prayers” for mass shooting victims seem hollow compared to their fentanyl crusade.

Balzac’s bewilderment is a parody of Americans’ collective facepalm when they see how their elected representatives handle these two catastrophic issues. Republican lawmakers’ snail-paced response to mass shootings is comical considering their fentanyl crisis response.

This farcical disparity raises the question: Are these politicians just laughing at selective crises, or is their indignation as inconsistent as their actions? This selective outrage and political theater drive this comical dichotomy. Unfortunately, this slapstick performance leaves ordinary people like Balzac confused, unsure of where to pray, and longing for a real punchline.