Sunday, September 7, 2014

Be outraged while you still can be

Outrage isn't pretty.

It's uncomfortable to be around.
It sounds scary. 
It looks scary.
We avoid people who are outraged.
We should avoid people if we're outraged.

We sympathize, we have opinions, we shake our heads, we get mad and post things on Facebook.

But outrage?
Nobody likes outrage.

I can't remember when I felt it last, that powerless, blind fury.
Whenever it was, I'm sure I moved swiftly to dial it down before making any decision or taking any action that might be regrettable.

Because, it feels bad to be outraged.
It makes your head hot and flushes your face. 
It makes your thoughts swim and your hands tingle.
Your breathing changes, you feel like a stranger to your mild self.

But all I feel, still, over James Foley and Steven Sotloff, is outrage.

And, while I believe outrage must be disposed of properly
like toxic cleaning products
I wonder if I should be so quick to dial it down, this rage. 

It's not often that I feel politically emotional.
It's not often that I stop in the middle of what I'm doing to cry for strangers.

God help us if new events drain our capacity for outrage
When that sleep of tired anger and limp sadness settles over us.
And takes the wind out of our outrage 
God help us when we don't stop to cry for strangers.

And today, I hope our intellectually, culturally, socially, mentally, economically diverse population, with all our well-intentioned, outspoken, measured, powerful and mild, especially the mild, can come together to feel at least one thing about the murders of two journalists who absorbed this attack on all of us:

Until some action of magnitude happens, that wouldn't come about if not for that one thing first, outrage.
Outrage is the only response.


  1. I agree, it is outrageous and we all need to feel outraged.

  2. If only we could harness that outrage we feel into change. If only.

  3. This is a wonderful post! And so true. We can't stop feeling outrage...because then we'll start accepting..and I think we already accept too much.

    1. Originally I thought that when awful things happen, we shouldn't be comforted by how much worse things "could have been". Actually I fall back on that perspective all the time. I just hate the idea that we will ever become less horrified by horrifying events, but over time that is what can happen.

  4. I have not been able to get the vision out of my mind of those two men kneeling peacefully awaiting a horrific fate. How did they go through that? How did we allow it? And I am with you, the outrage I feel about this has no measure. I was shocked at the Presidents approach, his reaction and subsequent outing. I want someone to stand up, with some kind of authority, and yell it out the way Biden did. There was a time that Rome was so feared that if you were a citizen of Rome and someone harmed you the full weight of Rome was there to protect you. I will never accept any of is horrible. And their mothers!!! My gosh the horror they must be experiencing.

    1. True, Donna. So painful to imagine and such unforgettable, horrific images. It would be worse than anything to forget how horrific.

  5. So perfectly put. It's all so unfathomable and horrendous.