Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hard Goodbye (Part Two)

In the face of a nagging sore throat, I begin to miss certain things about Haven more and more.

It's funny, you know. I intended this last series of posts to be a sort of swan song. I wanted to write some breathtaking, sweeping conclusion including all we've seen and done and learned over the last three and a half years. Obviously it would have been impossible to cover even a fraction of that, but I was going to try to do something memorable just in case something happens to me and I really can't post here ever again.

Much like the best laid battle plans go up in smoke when the first bullet flies, so too do my designs fail me when the first word hits the page. So rather than spend my time and effort reminding those of you still reading of things you already know, I'm going to say something both condescending and sincere.

I'm really proud of you.

The reason I say it's condescending is because those words make it seem as though I view myself as superior. If you've really been reading me all this time, you know that isn't the case. I say it because I truly have pride in what the people of this country--and of the world, for all I know--have accomplished. We've faced the worst events in the history of our species and managed to come out the other side relatively intact. Not whole by any stretch, but alive and able to function.

It could've gone the other way. We've all seen post-apocalyptic movies. Ever notice how we cheered for the hero without once noting how his actions did nothing to improve the world he lived in? Invariably, the survivors in those movies lived in continuously rotting societies. Everything circling the drain toward entropy and nothingness.

You--we--have done better. We have struggled to start over. There have been many, many instances where killing an enemy made more sense. We got stuck on survival over anything else at times. It would have been easy to forget our essential humanity and live in the world created by our expectations. We failed here and there, because we're people and that's what people do. We stumbled and fucked up in ways large and small. We killed and in some cases murdered on a large scale because of our mistakes and misapprehensions.

But we didn't let the weight of those failures crush us. It's a testament to our spirit that we soldiered on and learned, never dismissing the chance for peaceful solutions. We made amnesty available to Marauders. We broke through the suspicion between communities and forged a nation between them. In a matter of days, we held strong and risked all to turn our most dangerous living enemies into allies, if not friends.

I could harp on about the other things we've done, but I don't think it's needed. Most of that stuff was just survival, needs to be met. What I'm talking about here is the marvelous ability of the human being to overcome a desire so strong it's nearly a need itself--the desire for revenge. For violence. For letting our base instincts reign when we're hurt or scared. We could have done that and did on some occasions.

We learned from tragedies wrought by our own decisions. We've fucked up and faced the fire, but like Tolkien said, the burned hand teaches best. We could have let go our humanity and justified our descent into the behavior we long fought to eliminate. It makes sense, as a defense mechanism. You can only be Superman so long before you lose ground to those willing to do anything. Our morals cracked and strained over time, but they never broke.

That's why I'm proud. We did the worst more than once, but we never let the darkness it caused in our hearts take over. We--you--never gave up the struggle to be better, to learn. It's a desperate, shadowy world out there, but never have we strayed so far from the path that we couldn't still see the light.

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