THIS AND THAT: Living in a world filled with evil – and good
“How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?”
— from “Blowin’ in the Wind,” by Bob Dylan
“Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?”
— from “Ebony and Ivory,” performed by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
Those songs came up back-to-back on the playlist as I drove to a morning workout, causing thoughts of recent events to take over.
Hate and evil are alive and well in this country and around the world. All I can do is to ask, why?
The headlines have displayed it routinely over the past couple of weeks. A man sent bombs through the mail to politicians he disliked. Another shot and killed two people at a grocery store in Kentucky because of the color of their skin. A third opened fire on congregants in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11.
Hate, hate, hate.
How can a person want to kill another because of his political affiliation, his skin color or her religious beliefs? Yet that is what some people feel justified to do.
Last week I was taking a group of USC Aiken students to Louisville, Kentucky, for a convention. After checking into our hotel, I looked at my iPhone for the news of the day and learned that just a few miles away someone had shot and killed two people at a Kroger store. Why? Because their skin color did not match his. Hate.
A couple of days later in the city of my birth, Pittsburgh, 11 people were gunned down as they held their sabbath service. Why? Because of the faith they professed. Hate.
In this day when we have heard the stories of the Holocaust and witnessed anti-Semitism in the Middle East and elsewhere, surely the time has come when hate because of religion has vanished. Yet that is not the case.
The phone rings and I look to see an incoming FaceTime call from Chicago. The faces of two grandchildren appear. They are sweet, smiling and filled with joy as they greet their Southern grandparents. They are being raised in the Jewish tradition, and I find it unimaginable that anyone could not love these two little ones. But the actions of a man in Pittsburgh make it evident that there are those who would raise their hands against them just because of their upbringing.
Political rancor may be part of the reason. A general lack of civility may play into this unsettling plague. Perhaps fear of change is causing hate to consume some people.
While all of these hate-inspired headlines fill news broadcasts, there is still much good in the world, and that must not be overlooked.
Neighbors help neighbors when hurricanes and floods threaten life and property. Strangers go in harm’s way to help people in trouble. Thousands of heroic acts take place daily because good people take the time to look out for others.
While it’s easy to be consumed by the evil that lurks behind the actions of hate-filled people, the focus on what is good about people should not be lost.
Yes, in spite of pages filled with bad news, I still read the newspaper. In spite of political rhetoric that would cause a sailor to blush, I still look at the news on my smart phone. I am a news person and that is something that will not leave me.
But when I am out on the street and see the people of our community, there is an overwhelming amount of good. That is something I see on a daily basis. Look beyond the headlines of evil and you, too, will see the goodness of most of humanity. That is the real news we should never forget.