Monday, April 22, 2013
Some of my weekend was spent reading and watching coverage of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Many times I had to stop reading or turn off the news channel I was watching because it floods into me and I get overwhelmed. I do not like the 24 hour news cycle. I feel as though I cannot get all of what is happening - I get that particular talking head's points of view and so many of them talk way too much.
But that is definitely my problem; more than likely rooted deep within my AADD. Because it must be working for most others. Just not this other.
But I read, and listened, and waited. For the fear to begin tumbling out. And I have seen it here and there. Okay - more than here and there. It's everywhere.
I am not a good debater. I have opinions, but many times in the moment, I cannot make helpful use of the facts that my opinions are based in. I know what I believe.
I also know what I don't believe.
I don't believe Muslims are what we need to be fearing. I just read an article in The Washington Post that put a period at the end of that sentence for me.
‘Please don’t be a Muslim’: Boston marathon blasts draw condemnation and dread in Muslim world
In this article Qasim Rashid, the chairman of the Muslim Writer’s Guild of America, was reported to have tweeted. “Whoever the culprit, no religion justifies this act of violence. We must remain united against extremism.”
United against extremism.
That's the message I want to take with me.
Extremism is the thing to fear. Not Christians, not Muslims, not Jews, not Buddhists. None of them are to be feared.
I get enraged frankly when the fingers are pointed. And they do get pointed. I have pointed as well at times. I'm not proud of that. Ever.
We react and need a place to put our fear and anger. Then we calm down and try to sift through the fear-based ramblings to get to the core of it. I'm never certain if I get to the core.
I live in a colorful neighborhood. Not quite, but very near, the inner city. I am a white, Lutheran, middle-class, middle-aged, woman with blue eyes and white skin. There are plenty around here just like me. There are plenty around here not like me at all.
I have some friends that think my area isn't the safest or the toniest. I admit to having a few thoughts in these directions myself from time to time. But it is my city. I see the reasons people could be afraid. But I also see neighborhoods that are living their lives. Good people. It's just a neighborhood.
Doesn't mean I don't pay attention to the thugs. Doesn't mean I float through my day-to-day with a misplaced feeling of safety, but I also don't want to walk under the cloud of fear.
Frankly? I am shocked from time to time at the things that people fear.
They fear gays, they fear blacks, they fear Jews, they fear Muslims, they fear any damn thing that might be different from them. And then, when the unthinkable happens, when someone just like THEM does something heineous, well, then they point fingers at the parents, at the schools, at whatever they have to so they don't ever ever have to look and realize that sometimes people do bad, horrible things.
People do bad, horrible things. But this doesn't mean I'm going to stop being a person. I don't fear people. I fear the reaction behind people's fears.
Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.
(Interview, Time Magazine, February 20, 2005)
~ Clint Eastwood