Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Exploding your emotional bandwidth

If it's Wednesday it must be Morford on the Boston bombing.

Besides, despite the horrific images, there was plenty to be heartened by. Did you notice? While the bombings were likely accomplished by a single person or small number of people, the wild outpouring of love and support, the hundreds if not thousands of first responders, police, fireman, medical personnel, various citizens who rushed to help, who donated blood, not to mention the millions who poured out love and support via messages and blogs, kind words and non-partisan stories? That was sort of staggering. That was sort of a wonder. As debilitating and depressing as the bombings were, the reaction was just the opposite, and far larger.

This is the most essential reminder of all, is it not? A handful of violent sociopaths will never match, much less defeat, the support and care of tens of millions. Those who wish harm and damage upon humanity will never outnumber those who enable, empower and heal. The odds are in our favor. They always are. This is why we are still alive. Maybe the only reason.

It’s easy to pluck out the imbeciles and opportunists, the conspiracy nuts, ones who light up the chat rooms with anti-Islamic hate, who instantly politicize the bombings, who cannot wait to find an enemy or leverage the tragedy to hammer some petty political point. Is the Boston bomber some local, small-time sociopath who used the Internet to make explosives? Was it a terrorist splinter group? Was it a Saudi? Some Tea Party anti-abortionist? A pro-NRA redneck? Militant vegan? Who can we blame?

What an odd, charged, fascinating moment, this space of not knowing.

Make no mistake, we will almost certainly find out who did it. Then the frantic political blogs and talking heads will finally get to embark upon some heated, semi-intellectual conversation about insanity, or domestic terrorism, or racism, or some new form of the same old demons we haven’t considered yet.

Will it help? Will we learn anything new? Maybe. Doubtful. Maybe we’ll just re-learn the old chestnut that America must have its demons. We must have our enemies. If we can’t find any, we invent them. It’s what we do.

No comments: