Monday, July 17, 2006

The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men and women to say and do nothing - Edmund Burke

I received a brochure from the San Jose Winchester House in the mail Saturday.

Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester gun fortune, distraught by the death of her husband and only child and haunted by the spirits of the victims of the very products that had made her husband's family wealthy, bought an eight room farmhouse in San Jose in 1884 and obsessively turned it into a 160-room mansion over until her death in 1922, on the advice of a medium she consulted.

On March 14, 1964, Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered as she returned home at 3:20 in the morning. 38 neighbors heard or so the crime --but only one called the police, another yelled out the window, and the rest did nothing. The nation was shocked as the story came out that they "didn't want to become involved." For months, Americans measured their moral compasses and sadly realized that the reality fell far short of the truth.

Eight Canadians have now been killed by Israeli bombing in addition to the other Lebanese and foreign innocent victims in the past week. The American Embassy website was telling the 25,000 Americans in Lebanon to travel via the highway to Damascus --even as Israeli warplanes were killing yet more innocent civilians on the highway until it became impassable.

This morning at the church, I came to the conclusion that the first and foremost thing I could do was adhere to the "butterfly effect." That is, while it may not be all I can do, the most important thing that I could do as I helplessly follow the unfolding world events is to try to be a part of the solution instead of the problem, and try to practice lovingkindness a much as possible.

An imperfect solution, perhaps. And but a part of what I may in time discover that I can contribute to the problem. But I cannot sit idly by and watch as one friend put it, the dysfunctional actions of nations mimicing the dysfunctional actions of individuals, inflicting harm on others as reaction to their own pain, continues.

Am I still angry? Of course. I'm a human being. And no human being with emotions and feelings could possibly sit by and witness all this without concsequence.

Or our souls may be haunted, like Sarah Winchester, for the rest of our lives.

It's okay to not know what to do. But I can start by wanting to be a part of the solution, and looking for ways right in front of me that I can perhaps redeem humankind in the eyes of the universe. You may or may not believe in a God, but you can't tell me you don't think that there are consequences for looking away and not being involved.

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