Staring at the sun

It's been a long, hot summer

Let's get under cover

Don't try too hard to think

Don't think at all

Listen. Can you hear the man's voice channeling the siren's song? Can you hear what she's saying to you, through him?

Of course you can. And it's attractive, isn't it, what the voice is telling you to do? It makes everything so much easier. It makes life so much quieter, and cleaner, and calmer:

Ignore troubling truths. Trade empathy for apathy. Do it. You'll be glad you did.

I'm not the only one

Staring at the sun

Afraid of what you'd find

If you took a look inside

You'll be so very glad you did, because the shadows are growing long down here. Growing long, and they are dark around you, and close.

Don't look. Don't look.

Keep your eyes on the sun. Bask inside its warmth. Let your vision curdle in its glare. Nothing to see here. Nothing to be afraid of. There is nothing at all that can hurt you.

Right?

There's an insect in your ear

If you scratch, it won't disappear

It's gonna itch and burn and sting

Do you want to see what the scratching brings?

Be careful when you answer that question. Be careful. You may not like where it leads you.

To unequivocally condemn the recent events in Charlottesville is necessary, immediate and obvious -- the example set by the President of the United States notwithstanding -- but to stop at condemning them is to come up short. To stop there is to scratch once at the insect in the ear of America; it is to scratch once and assume that the buzzing and itching and stinging will go away.

It won't.

So we scratch, and we scratch, and what the scratching brings is an encounter with a disease that is a product of modern times, and yet utterly timeless.

The disease is called despair, and the rage we saw in Charlottesville was its symptom.

Referee won't blow the whistle

God is good, but will He listen?

How different are these days from the times of a pre-Renaissance leader of outcasts, a man who rode to power on a wave of despair, higher and higher, only to see it crest in an all-consuming inferno of rage

How far is the distance between a Virginia evening and a man with a torch in his hand and an Alabama morning and four little girls lying silent in their Sunday best?

How long is the road that runs between us and a child who stands at the curb speaking two words, only two, over and over and over?

And how long will we keep our eyes on the bright and blinding light in the sky and away from the darkness crawling through the dying towns and forgotten city streets of America?

You're not the only one

Who's staring at the sun

Afraid of what you'll find

If you stepped back inside

Nelson Mandela was right, and Barack Obama was right in quoting him: hate is not innate. It is not natural to the human spirit. It is a pollutant, an external infection that replicates and multiplies within the stagnant swamp of the despairing soul.

Hate is a virus. It is a contagion, communicable and destructive.

It is a virus that is passed on through the stories we tell each other about each other.

It is a virus that needs an artificial dichotomy to survive, a dichotomy that is almost as old as civilization itself: the dichotomy of Us vs. Them

Not just deaf and dumb

I'm staring at the sun

I'm not the only one

Who'd rather go blind

Staring at the sun affords you the privilege of ignoring the reality that there is nothing new beneath it.

Nothing new at all -- but does that mean there is no hope? Does that mean that what's past must necessarily be prologue? 

We don't think so.

We think a new story can be written. Must be written.

We think it's time to look away from the sun, and time to look at each other. Time to understand that the Them who we see -- whether we are white or black, gay or straight, man or woman, Christian or Jewish, alt-Right or hard Left -- is only another image of Us: beautiful, sad and mortal.

This is how we begin to drain the swamp. This is how we destroy the virus. This is how we ensure that Heather Heyer never really dies.

This is how we regain our vision, and how we finally, after so long, come to our senses.