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Last sync:2023-11-27 13:00
In which John talks about the bombing at the Boston Marathon while he drives to the dentist.
(John) Good morning, Hank; it's Tuesday. Yesterday, I saw this on my tumblr dashboard and immediately knew that something was very wrong. It turns out that there were coordinated attacks near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing at least 2 people and injuring more than a hundred. I don't really know what to say about any of it, Hank; I mean, to call this attack cowardly is an insult to cowards. So Hank, as I'm recording this - by the way, I'm on my way to the dentist, and yes, I know that my seat belt is not buckled, but to be fair, I am in a parking lot - anyway, we don't currently know who is responsible for what happened to the marathon. But if you look at the videos (and by now I assume that most of us have) you see two extraordinary things: First, you see all these flags along the race route, all these representations of nationalism. I mean, the flag is the thing that you turn to when you sing your national anthem, it's the thing that you pledge allegiance to, it's a symbol of you being part of a particular us. The Zambian us, the Norwegian us, the American us. And by extension, all the people who aren't American or Norwegian or Zambian are part of a them. But in the videos from the marathon bombings, you see all these flags lined up together, none higher than any other. Those 96 flags representing the nations of people running the Boston marathon are side by side, because they stand for a larger us - an us sharing a human endeavor that doesn't require a them. And the flags aren't blown over by the explosion, but within seconds, some of those flags do come down. They come down when people - onlookers, volunteers, first responders - tear down the barricades to get to the injured. "Look for the helpers," the great Mr Rogers said about tragedies. "You will always find people who are helping." And we do, Hank. There were coordinated attacks in Iraq yesterday that killed dozens of people - and there were helpers. There was a tremendous earthquake at the Iran-Pakistan border this morning - and there are helpers. Hank, I'm cool with living in a world with flags, but I am most proud to live in a world that could hold events where no flag flies above any other. There are people who don't want to live in that world, Hank, but I know that we are not going to give it up. And I know that we can always look in hope to the helpers, and endeavor to be among them. Hank, I will see you on Friday.