Good vs. Evil, Boston and Beyond

Published on Russia Today RT, by Sam Sacks, April 16, 2013.

I don’t personally believe in a dark-force permeating around the universe known as evil. But, I know that when a shrapnel bomb mows down an eight-year-old while he’s standing on the street waiting to hug his dad after the Boston Marathon, then some sort of “evil” is present.

Call it whatever you want, something stalks the planet today. It uses unspeakable violence and a brutal indifference to steal lives, to steal innocence from our kids, and to steal hope from our idealists. What causes it has been written about for much longer than I’ve been writing for, and much, much longer before that.   

But, we do know that every time this “evil” flares up in shocking real-life colors, it’s met with an equally powerful force that’s best described as “good.”

We learn so much about ourselves during these times of horror. We learn that we run toward the violence, and toward the screams and the blood. We learn that we shut away our most Ayn Randian desires and shower love upon those who are crippled. And we do all of these things with little thought about our own safety. We sacrifice ourselves.

Yesterday, splashed all across social media was that Fred Rogers quote, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.”

It’s an interesting critique on humanity. Why is the best of us brought out during the worst of times? It, too, is a question that’s been pondered for millennia … //

… Just like on Monday, “good” won the day on 9/11. The world was amazed by the heroism of average Americans reacting to the events of that day. But there’s been little in the way of good in the world since.

Good won the day after Newtown, but since then guns have been flying off the shelves and on to the streets, and thousands have been murdered in just the few months after. Where did all that good go?

CNN’s major takeaway from President Obama’s statements on the bombings was that he didn’t use the word “terrorism.” It’s as though whenever tragedy strikes, we must pay penance with the war on terror gods.

We take a cruel comfort in knowing it was terrorism. It already fits neatly into our fearful worldview. We know the enemy and we know how to fight them. We’ve been doing it for twelve years.

But in those twelve years, we’ve allowed evil to flourish around the globe. It’s embodied in the suicide bombings and car bombings that mar daily life in war-torn regions of the Middle East. It’s embodied in the relentless drone bombing campaigns that kill similar eight-year-olds in Pakistan. And it’s embodied in the right-wing xenophobia and racism that’s flared up in the United States in reaction to a decade of war, a growing security state apparatus, and economic strife.

Every single time, when the smoke clears, when our instincts subside, and when our perspective is lost, the retrograde purveyors of fear rush on to our TV and computer screens. Some motivated by religious zeal, others by political extremism, and other by profits, they play to our darkest emotions.

We must resist the fear, the despair, and most importantly, the vengeance that they promote. These are all instruments of the same evil we saw at the finish line in Boston. And they are at the root of why we’ve let evil seize the last decade, and why, unless we change course as a people here in the United States and abroad, evil will seize the next decade, too.

There is uncertainty and danger ahead. It’s become the way of the world in recent decades. But it can’t be any more uncertain and dangerous than what hundreds of American rushed toward on Monday in Boston. And they rushed toward it, not with rifles, drones, and suspicion, but instead with hands free, ready to help.

That’s the bravery and compassion that we need moving forward. And it’s the only posture that will give us a chance to restrain the evil beyond Boston.
(full text and 6 photos).

Links:

Response to Boston bombings will be incredibly disproportionate, Interview with David Swanson on Russia Today RT, April 16, 2013;

more on RT op-edge.

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