May. 10th, 2011

shadowtricker: (walk in the rain)
I am posting this in part because a very close friend has said that not only does she feel mixed emotions about a recent momentous event, but also that she is afraid to voice that lack of enthusiasm for fear of being called unpatriotic. While there is no doubt a contingent of people ready to lash out at anyone who does not make a show of gleeful support, I am by no means convinced this is a majority opinion. I have been pleased, inasmuch as one can be under the circumstances, to see a number of people put forth the intelligent and reasoned, if mild, protest over celebrating in the streets over the death of anyone, even an enemy.

Let me say first that I do agree.
That said, crowds chanting in the streets over the death of a famous political figure they consider to be an enemy is not a calloused product of a new unthoughtful, violent time. This is a phenomenon that dates back perhaps as long as there has been human civilization. Gossiping about an enemy and then cheering their death is a tradition that knows no specific era, race, gender, culture, or religion. This is a cycle that has been a part of human instinct from the early ages, and we are no less or more guilty of it than they are. By 'they', I mean those other people who are not 'us', and herein lies the source of this reaction. The stark classifications of 'us' against 'them' is a game that may be at the root of it all.

It is the mark of an intelligent culture, and one many of us should be grateful to live in, that we can freely voice dissatisfaction with this tradition and begin to embrace the idea that humanity should be a whole. It is patriotism to recognize and be proud of the better points of the country in which you live, and perhaps even more so it is patriotism to be aware of its shortcomings and work together to improve them. I am not a native to this land, but I am proud to know that I may write this without fear of governmental retribution. I may not be sorry that a man is dead, but I do feel sorrow that his death had to be the answer to a problem. I will not celebrate that. I will celebrate that I may openly voice this point of view.


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