Days pass; the ashes cool; he builds again"
- Edna St. Vincent Millay
I am watching the reading of the names of 9/11 victims at Ground Zero, on television. (I'm in a place with a television, which today I'm grateful for.) As the names rolled by, as did the images of the loved ones down in the footprints of the missing buildings laying flowers, I was deeply struck by what all these people looked like there's a crewcutted SE Asian guy . . . there's a black guy with his pretty mixed-race looking daughter . . . incredibly Anglo seeming guy with sideburns . . . woman in a sari and the sound of the names of the "Americans" the terrorists killed. I wrote down just a few of the Ps as they scrolled by.
ParakatIn that moment (just a few moments ago), I decided this is probably the second coolest thing about this country. As someone recently suggested, everything you really need to know about America might be encapsulated in the facts that our best rapper is white, and our best golfer is black. You want to kill us? Well, don't try to spot us on the street, or dig us out of the phone book. We're everybody. Heck, we're you. It was pointed out in the Times that, to this day, 36% of New Yorkers were born in some other country and that "considering what ethnic differences have done to cities like Sarajevo, Belfast and Jerusalem . . . the five boroughs are a living embodiment of what the United States is all about: diversity, tolerance and equality under the law."
If it's true that virtually all conflict, historically, has been conflict between groups, based on group identification . . . well, then, please consider that in our stirring of the pot so vigorously there is hope. Someone once said that miscegenation was the best solution to racism as it's impossible to hate your own grandchild. Well, come on over and write that large. All are welcome in this place.
The main thing I seem to be learning (and re-learning, and re-learning) on this journey is that it is always all about the other people.
May the families and friends of those lost find peace (and strength, and hope). And may we all see an end to all violence soon, soon, soon.