I am sick to death of violence of any kind, but I am shaking with frustration and, yes, rage at the violence that is bursting forth from people, from groups, who seem to forget, or more likely don’t care that we are all flesh and blood, sharing this fragile earth.
The title of this article is from Shakespeare’s, “The Merchant of Venice,” and it is not lost on me that the subject matter of one of the most compelling reasonings for tolerance, has an underlying basis in the idea for revenge when the character Shylock said,
“…He hath disgraced me, and hind’red me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? —fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die..?” ~ Shakespeare*
The point of Shylock’s speech is to explain why he would want a pound of flesh in payment if the character, Antonio, cannot meet the amount of a loan on its due date. Though Shylock is not a perfect person, there is exposition earlier in the play which indicates previous wrongs. Why must people do this? Why are people who are different, treated with undeserved disdain? Then, how is it that we are markedly shocked when those same ill-treated people get upset?
Somehow, the idea lingers that getting punched deserves a punch, it does not. The idea continues that my beliefs must match your beliefs, and it is just not true. The idea persists that a different skin pigment means wrong, it does not.
Whether it is the eye-for-an-eye mentality, the you-believe-something-different-than-I stance, or the your-skin-and-look-are-different-and-therefore-wrong mentality, they are all human devices to make people feel better about themselves at the expense of others. To then escalate that fabricated crap into any kind of violence makes us all something less than animals, something worse.
What is the point of driving a car into a crowd full of people? That’s not an act of terror, it is an act of cowardice. Using the seeming anonymous safety of a massive crowd to incite a violent incident is cowardly. With a supposed leader who cannot find better words than “very,” and oh, yes, “very, very.” To express himself, I have little hope that the current administration is willing, let alone able, to provide our angry country the moral compass it now seems to so desperately need.
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Heather Heyer, the young woman killed in Charlottesville, and also most recently my condolences to Barcelona, Spain. To those who are standing up and sticking up for each other, I applaud you. We must not let the shadows from shameful torches grow. Celebrate this massive salad that is humanity, all the different elements joining together. Embrace the differences that make life so interesting and diverse.
* Shakespeare, William, and Kenneth Myrick. “Act III., Scene I.” The Merchant of Venice, Signet Classic, 1965, p. 87.