An American Mother



by Ruth Fowler

“I recently became a mother, which could explain why this current period of conflict strikes me even harder than usual. When one becomes a parent – even a middle class, white parent with all the privileges denied the majority of those whose tragedies litter our news feed – we see our sons and daughters in the gray corpses of Palestinian children, in the broken bodies of drone victims, in the slaughtered Yazidis, in the black, unarmed child hit six times by cops whose ostensible duty is to protect and serve, in the angry kid who charges up to a cop and says, ‘Kill me now. Shoot me now” just moments before nine shots ring unhesitatingly through his brain, his lungs and his other vital organs, rendering him a bleeding, empty, dead corpse on the sidewalk (one whose corpse, nonetheless, must be cuffed for good measure). Every day is an overwhelming exercise in restraining my horror, empathy and moral outrage into 800 words or less, with fewer cuss words and tears than the first draft. But then there are the exceptions. The times when something happens in the news that is so horrific, so vile, and so unpleasant, that I fail to feel anything at all.”


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6 Responses to An American Mother

  1. robin andrea says:

    I saw a Susan Sontag quote the other day that really resonated with me: “10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction.”

    I think cruelty comes in every hue, as does mercy. The merciful find each other and weep at the world. I often remember a link you had here years and years ago, “Beware the Psychopath” which also spoke about that ruthless 10 percent. It’s amazing how much harm they have done over the centuries. The world is shaped by their bloody hands and our endless tears.

  2. Tara Crowley says:

    I despair at all of it. And I know it has always been so — always. Humans do barbaric things to other humans. Innocents are hauled to their death, and have been, for as long as we have been here. I try, in my small way, to cultivate harmony in my own tiny sphere of influence. It is all I can do.

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