I'm still having a hard time trying to reconcile the events of last night. I don't believe in the death penalty under any circumstance - I come from a long line of pacifists. I teach my children that "kindness is the single most important thing a person can be" ... even when people are cruel to us. I tell them, "there's no such thing as bad guys, just the misinformed, mistreated, terribly afraid, sick." I still believe that. I will always believe that.
But last night complicated things for me.
I don't believe in eye for an eye, so how does one explain to her children the news? The cheering in the streets as the word DEAD flashes across the screen? For me, I'll admit, it's difficult. No matter how evil and how much damage this one man did.
I tend to shy away from political debate here on GGC, because when it comes to politics, we're all wrong. Because we don't know the full story. We don't even know part of the full story. We know slivers of what has been reported, assumed, projected... Because we refuse to listen with open ears to the other side. Because division makes me feel carsick.
But I felt the need to write about this today as a parent struggling to explain the news to her children last night, as we watched, as a family, Obama deliver his speech.
We took the kids to Ground Zero when we were in New York, after explaining to them (Archer, mainly. Fable's still too young) what happened there. We told Archer about the towers falling, ten years ago and how they were finally rebuilding them. Two weeks later (last night) we explained to him the man responsible was now dead - that our soldiers killed him, that tonight was an historical one.
"And that's why people are celebrating?"
Yes, I thought. But I had a hard time saying so out loud.
"They're celebrating because they're relieved."
We put the kids to bed and went back to the news where I felt a hundred thousand different things until finally, I turned off the television, went to bed, didn't sleep.
This morning, on the way to school, I asked Archer if it was okay if I listened to the news for a few minutes.
"I'd like to listen, too," he said.
After a minute I turned down the voices.
"What do you think of all this?" I asked him. I admitted to him that I felt conflicted. That I understood the celebrating but was having a hard time joining my peers in doing so.
"I don't believe in killing people, mom, but everyone dies eventually and when some people die it saves people's lives."
"People are happy because now this man can't kill anyone else, including children. So, its okay."
We're celebrating because we're relieved.
I mumbled something insignificant, about "feeling strange, unresolved... quiet."
"It's complicated for me, too." Archer said.
I turned off the news. That was all I needed to hear. Because it IS complicated. Because I want more than anything for my children to understand that everything is. Even this. Especially this.