Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love and hate

Many of you will not be surprised when I say I was inexplicably drawn to crochet in red, white and blue last week. 

This stars and stripes tote is the perfect size for attending Prescott Frontier Days events in July.
As it turns out, this choice has interesting timing... considering the US is in the global eye this week in the news about the killing of Osama bin Laden.  It has brought up the patriotic feelings so many Americans had in 2001 when the twin towers fell, the center of our strategic command was attacked, and everyday heroes lost their lives in a Pennsylvania field.  It has also brought up a lot of other feelings that I think are part of what makes our country great.

In the US, we call ourselves the "melting pot" even though there are divisions.  There are political divisions based on who's hungry for power, there are racial divisions based on geography, there are spiritual divisions based on philosophies, and more.  But... we are all Americans.  Even as we drive each other crazy in picking apart the details, we are in it together. 
It's a lot like any typical family.  There are crazy aunts, repressed fathers, desperate teenagers thrown in with all the 'normal' family members.  But just like any family, they are OUR crazy, repressed and desperate family members and we love each other just as much as we complain. 

So, this week is no different.  I see one side rejoicing about a death.  I see the other side condemning the rejoicing.  But just like you and crazy Aunt Tillie, we're just a little mixed up in our communications.  We're all saying the same thing in our own way - "I'm glad it's finally OVER!"  And that is the common ground we stand on.  We can continue to pick it apart, or we can finally take a deep breath and move forward.  (Which will you choose?)

There have been a few points I find interesting in the timing of all this, and not just my choice to pick up patriotic colors.  Last week, the entire world was focused on the royal wedding in London.  Love it or hate it, you probably heard something about it every day for weeks, right?  It still planted ideas of weddings, love, new beginnings, and bright futures in the back of your mind.  We were globally focused on an event that fostered fundamental change, growth, and love across borders.
Is it really so surprising then that on the heels of that kind of energy, an event happens that has the potential to put a long standing 'hate' to rest? 

Several people have been sharing this quote: "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."  (By the way, it's NOT MLK)

This seems to be a great example of the inner conflict the US is dealing with in general. It's difficult to have ideals when the reality of life can be so harsh. But isn't that the point? To hold on to our ideals? To have hope and believe that one day we may be able to 'rise above'?

Then again, while this is a great ideal, is it practical in the real world we live in?  Is the real trick to find balance between the two?  Ideal and reality?  Do we have to pick one or the other?    Why can't we have both?
I put it to you that sometimes in order to drive out darkness, we have to go into it knowing it is dark, knowing we cannot bring the light with us (or it would be light and not dark!)... in order to bring out that which thought it was lost in the darkness, back into the light.

In this particular circumstance, it was not our president or our military who chose this end for bin Laden.   He chose it himself.   He could have allowed himself to be arrested 'quietly'... which the US would have done if he had given any indication that was his preference (like Saddam Hussein).   No, this guy supposedly used the only (and unarmed) woman in the compound as a human shield.   He made his choice.   I do not rejoice in his death, but I also do not have pity for it.

That said, bin Laden was not the devil incarnate. He was an extremely intelligent human being who truly believed that the US has irreparably interfered in his homeland (and we seriously have, read your history). He believed he was doing the right and honorable thing, righteously fighting a formidable enemy, standing up for his people against the US.

Americans did the same thing in 1776 when they declared independence from England and started destroying property and killing each other.

And yet, we only see our own side of the story in each case, don't we? Food for thought.

Perhaps the point of this quote comes down to compassion. Whether you understand another's reasoning or not, it's important to consider that THEY believe they are doing the right thing, just as you do. If we can keep in mind that everyone one earth is just a human being doing the best they can, perhaps we can find a way to resolve our issues with each other without having to resort to hate.
I actually think this death could be the end of the hate.

For 10 years, the US has been waiting waiting waiting for some closure.... For 10 years, we've lived in fear that this man is plotting something else, 'perhaps in my town'.   For 10 years, those who grieve their personal losses on 9/11 have seen no personal justice for their loss.   That's a lot of 'energy' hanging out there that has now been put to rest.   I think now, with the loss of just this one man, many many people will finally be able to move on with their lives.

I don't see hate in that possibility, I see hope.

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