After the events of the last week — the capture of a mad bomber and the murders in the synagogue — it isn’t hard to imagine that a person would want to tune out and walk away. To witness so much raw hatred and violence roaring at us, attacking us at the core of our beliefs, be they political or religious. Both acts combine to touch all of us, to challenge us, and not just on those levels; they touched and harmed us all.
For me, there’s a very good chance that one of the victims at the shooting in Pittsburgh was a relative of friends of mine from my years at camp. That hasn’t been confirmed, but even if she was not, she was someone’s family and they have been torn from the comfort of their faith and devastated at the most vulnerable level. As for the bomber based in the suburbs of Miami and sending out his missives of hate, once again we’re seeing a distillation of differences of opinion turned into raw emotion, egged on by a heedless and self-centered narrative that only seeks to amplify the differences and make them poisonous. And the ones who turned up the volume, provoked the anger, then stood aside as the rage built and turned to the rest of us and trotted out the false equivalencies, the “now is not the time,” or the maddening “yeah-but-what-about”-isms that include people being rude in restaurants as the same thing as mailing a pipe bomb. Their cowardice and blame-shifting only makes it worse, and if you think the solution to murder in a synagogue is more guns, you have no business offering solutions.
Now is not the time to not talk about this and do something about it, and both karma and the calendar have brought us to the point where we can do something meaningful. Eight days from today we have our moment to do something positive that will, at least in theory, make a change, and that’s voting. It’s already going on in many places; I am getting bombarded with texts and e-mails reminding me that early voting is already underway here in Florida. But this time I’m waiting until Election Day; I need to read up on the various amendments and local races because I do not intend to leave a single vote uncast. So wherever you are, I recommend you do the same. And if you’ve already voted, either in person or by mail, know that you have already done something that will make more of a difference and bring about more change than all the bombs and raging and murderous anti-Semites ever will.