|We Are the World
If you live in Washington, you're supposed to get used to this stuff, but I still haven't. Driving home from the office, I noted some flashing police lights in the road ahead of me. It was near a spot where, last year, a man ran a red light in his car and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk, killing one and severely maiming another. I feared seeing some kind of carnage.
But it wasn't carnage. There were dozens of cops. Almost one-to-one, in fact, with the demonstrators. At 8:30 at night, perhaps 50 demonstrators were chanting something along the lines of "Hey Hey Ho Ho Ariel Sharon's Got to Go!" It was a diverse crowd ~ from the now familiar version of the Israeli flag with a swastika replacing the star of David, to Jews for Peace, to college kids in kaffiyehs. Across the street was the hotel where Sharon, presumably, is staying.
At first I was unnerved. And then I was glad. I had another one of my intermittent surges of patriotism. However ineffective or naive or misguided, people come here and make a noise because they care about what's going on in the world. And the police presence wasn't there to stifle or to suppress.
In a recent email correspondence with an overseas friend, I noted that the principles and standards we hold ourselves to personally don't always scale very well to the level, for example, of nation-states. It's easy to criticize and find fault, and very difficult to find just solutions. The only hope is conversation, based in mutual respect and fueled with kindness.
I guess that scales both ways. Too bad conversations like that are so rare.