I appear to be blessed (cursed?) with a mind that’s like a terrier with a bone. Community, like so many things confronts us as Janus-the double-headed Roman god of doors and (it does make a weird kind of sense) of beginnings and endings.
I read William Shirer’s the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich when I was a freshman-a high school freshman. Once I was done I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the world the same way.
What the Nazi’s did in their rise to power. What was done during that war. The Final Solution, not only for the six million or so European Jews but also for so many others. The Slavs, the Poles, the Gypsies, gays, the other five million who died on the alter of a diabolical definition of community. I believe I began to realize the kind of actions human beings could commit when they know they are “right.”
For too many of the years after the war too many of us-me included bought the line that what the Nazi’s did was something unique to the Nazi philosophy. Heaven knows there was enough evidence before the war of what human beings can do to each other because the ones we’re attacking don’t fit some definition “us.” Since the forties we’ve seen all to much evidence of what we can do those we see as “other.” We can all recite the litany that just keeps getting longer. From Cambodia to Darfur with the Balkans and Rwanda in between. We’re too civilized here in America to go in for wholesale extermination these days. We use words instead of guns and act surprised when the words cut more deeply than a knife ever could.
Want to hear something really weird? When I started this entry this was not the direction I thought it was going to go. Once I started to type this is where the words led me. They seemed to flow on their own. They do that sometimes. And then the really unexpected reaction kicks in. I never realized what kind of emotions an entry like this would dredge up. I usually keep them firmly leashed and I think there may be two people on the planet who’ve seen or heard me royally po’d. The smile I have to wear at work and with most of the members of my family feels more and more forced. Keeping it there is getting harder and harder. Thank you cyber space for someplace to express just a little of what I’m feeling.
There are threads, connections, whatever you want to call them that tie us to each other, the earth and to the other creatures that ride this world with us They are trapped with us and dependent on our actions to preserve this fragile ball of earth, air and water. Somehow we have to get beyond a definition of community that is so narrow that almost all of us are “other.”
1 day ago