Thank god for the internet and social media (and I say this with 0 sarcasm) because otherwise I would most definitely miss stuff. The world is big and it moves fast and unless other people read things and link to them it often zooms past me in the time it takes for me to fold a load of laundry.
Anyways – my lovely (and wicked smart) friend, Ann linked to this article on Monday and just the title, “Whither Moral Courage?” immediately stirred up all of the feelings I have been chewing on about the Boston bombing (which I haven’t talked about here for various reasons… one of them being I wasn’t there, and as much as Boston is in my top 5 favorite cities of all time, I live very very far away) and the current political climate, and maybe the world in general.
I was going to write a post listing just a bunch of rhetorical (and not so rhetorical) questions I had about the whole bombing situation and the drama that unfolded afterwards, but… again, I wasn’t there. My world is sunshine and baby poop, not bombings and city lockdowns, and police running through my backyard.
But then I read this:
It’s harder for us to see politicians, with the exception of Nelson Mandela and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as courageous these days. Perhaps we have seen too much, grown too cynical about the inevitable compromises of power. There are no Gandhis, no Lincolns anymore. One man’s hero (Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro) is another’s villain.
Two years ago in Pakistan, the former governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, defended a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, wrongly sentenced to death under the country’s draconian blasphemy law; for this he was murdered by one of his own security guards. The guard, Mumtaz Qadri, was widely praised and showered with rose petals when he appeared in court. The dead Mr. Taseer was widely criticized, and public opinion turned against him. His courage was obliterated by religious passions. The murderer was called a hero.
And now I just want to say a few things about all the news lately.
I’ve never really thought that cynicism was a negative thing until I read this article. I’ve always thought being cynical was being clever and not letting the puppet masters pull the wool over your eyes (more metaphors! more more more!). But now I think that maybe it does more harm than good sometimes… or maybe it doesn’t allow the good things, even if they aren’t perfect good things to just… be. Everything is picked and picked and picked apart until it is ugly. Because ugly makes better news than pretty I guess? And because real ugly, the things that are not good (not even a little), try to pretend to be pretty so much of the time maybe no one can tell the difference anymore.
I think the way the manhunt for the bombers was televised and reported on was ugly. There was a fervor and a taste for blood that I had never really experienced on the news before. I really felt like the reporters wanted their to be a big bloody shoot out. I felt like they really wanted their to be a much more dangerous scene than their already was. It seemed like Bonnie and Clyde when their dead bodies in the shot up car were dragged through the streets at the end of the movie. I spent that day wanting no one else to die. Not the kid in the boat who blew the limbs off of people, not the people in the hospitals trying to live and mourning the loss of their limbs. But if all I did was watch TV that day, it felt like I was the only person who didn’t want more carnage. And where is the moral courage in that?
Where are the politicians who care more about making the country better than they do about re-election? Ok, there is my rhetorical question.
And lastly… no legislation can be passed to reduce the constant gun related deaths in this country… and also no legislation can be passed that give people who love each other the right to marry, regardless of matching anatomy. This is wrong. It’s all wrong.
Check out the article in the NYTimes by Salman Rushdie. It’s really good. Let me know what you think.