Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Apologies to My Children

Culture & Society ---

My children, it appears that all these years I have misled you, and I would like you to know how sorry I am for having done so.  All these years I have been teaching you (by instruction and by example) that violence is wrong, not to repay violence with violence, and that every human life (without exception) is utterly valuable.  It appears that I have been way off track, for our society as a whole seems to believe otherwise.   Our society seems to allow that it is appropriate (in fact, one's right) to retaliate if one or some group is attacked, though it does not particularly specify or provide any clear guidelines as to the extent of such retaliation.  I suppose, given its silence on the matter, one is free to retaliate extremely or to some lesser degree, depending on one's whim or fancy.  

So, Imani, instead of reprimanding you when you hit your little sister while you were both growing up, I should have encouraged her to hit you in return and to trash your room in return.   I should also have given you the same message when you came home from school with complaints of being punched by a fellow student.   What has led me to see how wrong I have been about the principle of non-violence and the value of human life is the example of our leaders (whose examples we ought to follow) who seem always ready to bomb people to smithereens and to emphasize the right of their friends to do the same as well.  And since our country is more moral that those others that might be the recipients of our bombs and bullets, it must be right to be violent with them.   

Further, I have not heard a lot from our religious leaders condemning violence in all its aspect nor condemning those who use it (whether by retaliation or by initiating it).  In the absence of such condemnation by Pope, Bishops, Cardinals, priests, pastors, evangelists, pandit, monks, imam, rabbi, etc., I take it that violence (without qualification) is okay.  Even my friends appear to go along with the principle of defending one's self, and since I have very high regard for my friends and their points-of-view, I am constrained to believe as they do.  So, like me, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was wrong, Mahatma Gandhi was wrong, Jesus was wrong, and anyone who takes a position against violence is wrong.  For, somewhere along the line, our society considered Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative in relation to the principle of violent response and embraced that principle as a universal law.

I wish also to apologize to my students.  For, in the same manner in which I have misled my own children I have misled you.  To those of you I sent home because you responded physically when you were physically attacked, I say, "Sorry."  I should have commended you for the punches you threw in retaliation, for that is what our society believes to be the appropriate response.   I must apologize to my Dad as well.  Dad, I should have taken revenge on the man who killed you by pouring acid all over you.  I should have torn his house to shreds, and I should have destroyed all the inhabitants of his house.  Dad, please forgive me for forgiving him instead of immolating him in revenge for that which he did to you.  And if I had known then that which I know now, I would have spit on the man who spit on me on the D train several years ago and should have kicked the sh*t out of him for punching a fellow passenger instead of stepping up to him, standing up to him, and telling him that he was wrong for doing that which he did and watching him run out of the train.