Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Taking Responsibility For Christmas

Repeating History

Anyone who travels regularly becomes acutely aware of how America is perceived by the rest of the world. We are revered, envied, despised, and remain a source of puzzlement to other residents of planet earth.

This year our holiday season has demanded a full range of national emotion. While surrounded by the symbols of joy and rebirth, we have had to come to terms with senseless killing. We are a nation of partygoers who wake, stare in the mirror and see dark circles of anguish etched under our eyes.

Thoughtful people openly wonder why America "just gets crazier and crazier". And, surrounded by immersive media, it is easy to let our collective memory drift to a romantic time and place where Andy talked to Opie and "stuff like this" just never happened.

Now, with the benefit of a little over a half century as perspective, I suggest that the world has always  been coming apart at the seams.

I was born to parents whose childhoods endured the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Parents who faced world wars on both oceans followed by the advent of weapons capable of ending life on earth.

I remember the Cold War and wondering if the world would end during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember an unimaginable string of assassinations: President Kennedy, Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy, Oakland's School Superintendent Dr. Marcus Foster and San Francisco's Mayor Moscone.

I remember the gore of the Sharon Tate and later Nicole Brown Simpson murders. There was the University of Texas sniper, Dahmer, Gacy, and Judge Haley being taken hostage and eventually being murdered in Marin County. I remember the collective terror we all felt thanks to the Zodiac killer.

Then came mass shootings in Stockton, Aurora, Columbine, Fort Hood and Lynchburg. The list never really ends.

So, whats the point?

Just this. "Crazy" has no code date. Yet, I believe that as long as inexplicable murder results in profound national sadness, there is hope. And, with hope we must take the responsibility of mustering the strength and courage to create a better world for our children.

Hope is what Christmas is about for me.

It is the knowledge that we are loved, we remain capable of love, and that every birth renews hope for a better world.

Roadboy's Travels © 2012

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