A quick observation today. Over the past couple of days, I have read a number of well-intentioned posts and tweets on social media saying something along the lines of “We are better than this” and “This is not who we are.” There have been many calls for us not to focus on happen last Wednesday and, rather to “move forward.”
With all due respect, let me counter that we are not better than this, and this is exactly who we are. Until we recognize what we have become, rather than pretending that we are what we wish or hope we might be, nothing will change. And something must change.
Each of us has to decide what it will take to rise above what we are and start becoming what we claim to be. It will take a lot of difficult work, tasks much more difficult than telling ourselves consoling stories. A good place to start is to be brutally honest with ourselves about where we come from and where we currently are. This sentiment from Deuteronomy, etched in glass in the room of remembrance that is the final stop in the National Holocaust Museum, is a good place to start:
Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.