from: Every Soul a Star
by Wendy Mass
Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, 2008
Next Monday, August 21, at about 1:30 in the afternoon, I’ll be outside with my eclipse glasses watching an unlikely phenomenon. The full moon will orbit between our Earth and sun in such a way that the moon’s shadow will pass directly in front of the sun and obliterate it. For a few minutes.
That was going to be my topic this week, the eclipse. Probably something about needing special glasses and a little about the science. But our nation is crying and the whole eclipse thing turned into a metaphor for me.
We have a president who instills fear and hatred. He permits free-flowing anger to be expressed in horrible and tragic ways. Maybe it’s not *all* his fault. After all, many people just haven’t gotten over the fact that the North won Civil War and all that implies. The Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, The Emancipation Proclamation, Brown vs. the Board of Education (1954), The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (at least what’s left of it), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Supreme Court’s ruling that gay marriage is legal in all states (2015) demonstrate that we, as a society, are becoming more inclusive, accepting, and maybe even more understanding of each other.
Not everyone agrees.
Robert E. Lee was a good, maybe even great general. He was a tragic leader, though, who fought for the perpetuation of an evil institution. Does he really deserve a statue in a major U. S. city? Or any city? Can anyone really justify murder, especially when it is done in the name of hate?
We cannot allow White Supremacy, Klan members, Neo-Nazis and other hate groups to thrive and spread their fear of others. Anger, violence, and murder are not the opposite of love, kindness, and beauty.
The opposite of hate is indifference.
Cat Stevens’s song “Moon Shadow” expresses his sense of optimism. Even in the darkest time, he accepts that tragedy is part of life and adjusts his course to be able to move past it, changed for the better. You can read the lyrics and even listen to the song here: http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/12778/#comments
Just as the moon’s shadow will block out our view of the sun, it will expose the corona, that breathtakingly beautiful, glimmering circle of flares only visible during totality. Just as free-flowing anger, fear, and hatred expose violence, even murder, they can only blot out goodness, love, and the kindness of strangers for a brief moment, in the whole scheme of things.
If our nation’s tragedy in this very dark and scary time moves us to individual and collective action, if violence moves us toward compassion, then the sun really will come out tomorrow.
--stay curious (and active!)