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Feh, inshallah

Your Humble Blogger feels that it is somehow incumbent on him to comment on the story of the Dobriches of Georgetown, Delaware. Or formerly of Georgetown, Delaware, as they have moved following increasing Christian proselytizing in the Georgetown public school, an attempt to combat that, a hostile defense in the community, and death threats. You can read about it in the New York Times in an article mildly headlined Families Challenging Religious Influence in Delaware Schools. Or not. Frankly, it’s depressing and not altogether enlightening.

Or you could read about a maniac shooting six people at a Jewish Federation building in Seattle or about or about Mel Gibson’s drunken rantings about Jewish conspiracies. The good news is that these stories are news. The bad news is that they happen. Of course, I am aware that these sorts of things, particularly the kind of thing that happened in Georgetown, does happen to minorities of all kinds, and that it doesn’t always make the paper. But I do think that, on the whole, we live in a remarkably tolerant world, and some of us live in a wonderful sub-nation where variety is celebrated rather than feared or hated.

How do we react, then, to these aberrations, these profoundly un-American (and here the term is prescriptive, rather than descriptive—I’m talking about the self-image we try to live up to, rather than the selves we struggle against) and disgusting incidences of anti-Semitism (or racism, or homophobia, etc, etc)? How do we simultaneously remember that in a nation of 300 million people and three and a half million square miles, such incidents can be both frequent and unusual? How do we shine a sufficient light on such nastiness to correct the various seemingly neutral behaviors and policies that support it, while maintaining a sense of proportion and a patriotic willingness to see our better selves?

The answer, I’m afraid, is that I don’t. Instead, I veer back and forth between cheerful blindness to our faults and vicious contempt for our society. Healthy. But what can you do?

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,


I know exactly what you mean. For instance ("unusual," or then again maybe not so) there was this guy I went to high school with, who at that time I had no idea existed, and then it turned out that we lived in the same apt building in college. He seemed very intelligent and often thought himself into a bit of a hole, but I figured most thinking people do that. We became friends and talked a lot about many things, but after I moved away we lost touch. Then just last year I got a call from my former roommate who told me he had gone pretty much nuts and burned down three African-American churches. I kept wondering what HAPPENED to him. I guess he got mugged or something and was upset, but that's no excuse. Something just broke in his mind somewhere, I guess. He really didn't seem like the type of guy to do that. I'll never understand it.

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