This is Us. (See what I did there? Pittsburgh….sadness.)
Unfortunately, there has been no shortage of seminal moments in our world that showcased the abject and baseless horror human beings can inflict on one another. History is littered with prime examples. And literature teems with responses.
A little more than two years ago, in the wake of another hate crime (Pulse, Orlando), just as Hillary and the Donald were wrapping up their victories in their respective Primaries, a young lady sat in one of the most American establishments there is, deep in the heart of a battleground state, and wrote these powerful verses:
Smith’s opus deftly captures the paradox of our planet, our world and humanity. It is at once breathtakingly beautiful, and horrifyingly awful. It makes you gasp in wonder, and cry tears of fear and futility. It is simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic. And in my eyes, if a person can take the human condition and our imperfect world with all of its flaws, decay and unbearable cruelty, and bottle them up in fewer than twenty lines of lyrical free verse, mixed with hints of optimism and belief in our children, in our future…well then perhaps not all is lost…even after Pittsburgh…and Parkland….and Las Vegas, and Charleston, and Sandy Hook, and so on down the line.
Still, they are just words. So while I encourage you to read them, re-read them, pass them on and focus on the hint of optimism at the end, please know that words are powerful, but actions always speak louder. I urge you to vote. And choose kindness. And teach kindness.