Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

"Even if it's just momentary..."

I was going to post something trivial, and then I noticed the date: September 11.

I've been hearing that date a lot lately, and it seems like this is the first year that I've heard the date not mentioned in conjunction with the events of five years ago, but rather just as a date, as in "Sale ends on Monday, September 11th." I'm sure it happened before, but for some reason it struck me this year.

Someday someone will undoubtedly ask me where I was on the morning of September 11th, 2001, and I will tell them that I was in Mike Cutler's Human Relations class, and in retrospect that was the best possible place to be. I will forever be grateful to him for his efforts to help us put things in perspective that morning.

I think that in the intervening years a lot of people have lost any semblance of perspective; all I have to say is that I think we would all do well to remember that everybody on those planes and in those buildings was a human being, and those who continue to struggle on the front lines of the world's conflicts are human beings.

Okay, I guess I lied; I have more to say...

Human beings are susceptible to addiction, and one of the most addictive and seductive forces in the world is hatred, and I know for a fact that I'm no more immune to it than anyone else. But like all addictions, the addiction to hatred can only destroy, and if we give into this addiction we will destroy ourselves in the effort to destroy the objects of our hatred. Hatred is greedy; it demands all of our time, all of our energy, and all of our resources. It promises us satisfaction, but it can never fulfill that promise. It can only consume us and leave us as empty husks, as corpses that still walk and breathe air.

You don't need me to say how we fight hatred; it's been said so many times it's almost a cliché. The challenge now is to stop talking about it and actually do it. Edward R. Murrow said, "We will not walk in fear one of another," and even now--especially now--we should take his words to heart, because the enemy is not one another, the enemy is not this faction or that faction; the enemy is hatred...chaos...greed...pettiness...pride...kitsch. We can only combat these enemies with openness and honesty, simplicity and humility, with sincerity, with democracy, and with reason that is equal parts logic and emotion, equal parts fire and ice, not to destory the world but to cauterize its wounds and anesthesize its pain. And yes, I say it yet again in the hopes that the conviction of my heart will imbue it with new meaning: the way to fight hatred is with love, and yes, it's also cliché to say that it's so much easier to say than to do.

Sadly there is no extant record of what was said in Mike Cutler's Human Relations class that morning; even I no longer remember it in any detail. In lieu of that is the record of Jon Stewart's tribute to the fallen and to those who sought to rebuild, which continues to serve as a reminder to me to grieve but not to despair.
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