I remember how it was, covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.
Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?
There were reporters to be dispatched, assignments to be made, facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.
Old habits die hard.
Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.
Today I am weeping.
My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.
Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: " I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles."
The tears began the moment I read that.
The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.
Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.
And then I read, "I hope you jump in rain puddles."
Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.
Hope is not audacious.
Hope is a rain puddle.
A little girl gave us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?
Is there still a thing called hope?
Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?
Can we? Will we?