Friday, January 13, 2017

The Meaning of Tears

When someone says of others: "Their tears mean nothing to me," I see all of the excesses of history. All of its oppression, cruelty and atrocities. Not because there is a causal link; the perpetrators of the worst of human history went far beyond merely the ability to ignore others' suffering. But because the oppression, cruelty and atrocities of history, in nearly every case, required more than just those people who were willing to turn their hand to the infliction of pain upon others. They also required the enthusiastic approval, servile (or self-serving) acquiescence or willful ignorance of those who refused to assign any meaning to the tears brought forth by that pain.

It is tempting to see, in the worst of history, a vast sea of active participants, hateful and snarling, twisted by rage and bitterness into abominations utterly unlike ourselves. But the truth is simpler. Most are loving, kind and compassionate people, who simply found room in their hearts to, this one time, make an exception.

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