a reaping

today i join the rest of the country in sadness and shock hearing about the assassination attempt on gabrielle giffords, and the deaths of bystanders, including a 9-year-old child.

9 years.

i’ve watched in silence as everyone grasps for where to lay blame. on a crazy man, acting alone? someone mentally ill enough to open up machine gunfire on a crowd of people in front of a supermarket? the violence of military service which breaks young minds? the careless radical right media which have been working up such a violent frenzy across this nation? sarah palin and her maps of targets in the crosshairs and predatory language?

i am overwhelmed with a desire to take up all these people in some massive hands, with some massive love, and tell them there is another way. i long to take them away from this awful…reaping.

but perhaps there is no escape from these seeds of hate that have been sown, no way out and no way back. no bystander innocent enough.

there’s only a path forward. we must not let hate become our way of operating, at least not a hatred of people. it is the ideas that are so abhorrent, and we must understand how these ideas can come to have a grip over people in such similar struggles.

and on the off-chance that palin, and glenn beck, and other leaders who have been calling for violence against those who express political difference in this country have any sense of how their words are manifesting into such a horrific reality, on the off-chance that they care: they must step up, they must say, authentically, over and over again until everyone can hear it and believe it, that this is not what they meant.

because this is not what they mean, is it? surely this is not how to claim some ideological victory…

my sister offered this poem on her newsletter:

“Here is a poem, from It by Inger Christensen. It was shown to me by a man I love dearly, and I think it is strangely befitting the times.


When the insane roll in the dust
when they hug a plastic amoeba close

to them sing the praises of the culture
when they pick up the toppled statues

and bear them together in procession
single broken fragments or whole skeletons

when they lift the frozen canopies
from the Pentagon the Kremlin the world

and raise them high over the finest statue
of the president speaker general

and write the one word love
in the middle of his gleaming forehead

then love is probably compromised
but power is transformed”