Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Finish Line

            World history is rife with tragedy and sadness. In fact, if you look at the real underbelly of history it is usually written in blood and borne on the backs of the downtrodden. American History is no different and yesterday in Boston was another example of the horrors that human beings can inflict on one another. The thing that bothers most Americans, I think, is the mystery surrounding the attack at the Boston Marathon. We want to know why this happened. We want to know who was responsible and what their motivations were. We want then to see justice prevail.

            Justice, however, is difficult to express when the scale is so high. If the individuals or individual is captured, they will stand trial and be given the opportunity to defend themselves. A jury will likely hear evidence and make a decision based on the facts, if they can, and then decide an appropriate punishment, which by most people’s standards; won’t be severe enough. But this is justice. It may not be perfect, but as a collective society, it’s the best we’ve got. It is only the beginning of healing, not the end result.

            These acts of terror, cowardice and blatant villainy need to be fixed and I believe they can. Throughout History mankind has basically been at each other’s throats for one thing or another. Be it land, titles, religion, ideology, or just the two biggest kids on the block, we’ve always been after each other. But I do see a different side of it all for the sake of peace and growth as earthbound neighbors. As much there are violent men, there are equally men of peace. It is those men and women of peace that will eventually triumph in the end.  

            I do not believe in an “eye for an eye” because eventually everyone will wind up blind. My Catholic up-bringing encourages me to turn the other cheek and I take comfort knowing that evil never lasts. It is weak and short lived. So I can risk my other cheek understanding that no matter how great an evil, it cannot sustain itself. It simply doesn’t have the stamina. So I might have sore cheeks for a bit, but I will prevail.  I like to think of myself as a man of peace.

            Believing in peace and wanting justice is not mutually exclusive. The ideologists of terror can bang their heads against the walls of the United States of American for as long as they want, they can never, ever, break our spirit or our desire for peace and justice. It is that balance we strive for at home and abroad. We want to cheer for the oppressed and help them rise above the things that are keeping them down.

            We want to believe that a world that is educated, self sustaining, free and just will only help propel us forward as a collective species into the next stage of our planetary existence. It is counterproductive to hold onto 16th century ideals and outmoded bigotry for hates sake. It was Captain Ahab’s hateful obsession of Moby Dick that led to his demise. His hate got him and his men killed for nothing. Hate sake and nothing more.

            It is the peacemakers, the caretakers, the people dedicated to the idea that there is no horror that can’t be overcome, there’s no evil that can’t be overthrown, that help lead us to becoming a constructive and more learned people. War mongers don’t have a plan for peace.

            I hope we as a people can overcome this tragedy and learn from it. I hope we can honor the injured and the dead by working toward peace. I hope we as a people can all cross the finish line together.

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