Well, I had vastly different plans for this week’s Vignette. I even refrained from posting the photo I was so excited about on Instagram. Now I have to hold off for another week, because…. well, guess what? The unthinkable happened, right in our backyard. Our ancient, sacred, and breathtakingly beautiful Columbia Gorge is on fire. The culprits were a gaggle of giggling teenagers, shooting fire works off a cliff, into the tinder box that is the late Oregon summer, way down below.
Many better folks than I are calling for compassion for the perpetrators, but I’m sorry. I don’t have it in me, any more than I have compassion for the Taliban, who with self righteous bravado erased the cultural heritage of an entire nation. I have a big enough heart, but it has no room for stupid, arrogant, indifferent or intolerant people – regardless of age. If I were the parent of these young adults, I would feel like a massive, f***ing failure, and probably throw myself off the cliff too, in all-consuming shame. For the record – the Taliban are still on my shit list, and I don’t think this particular ire will disappear anytime soon either.
So, whaddya guys think? Do they deserve our compassion? A friend succinctly remarked that had the teenagers been any other color than white, they would have been instantly lambasted, as well as tarred and feathered. Compassion would have been the last thing on anyone’s mind. I think she is right. She probably would be right in most states, but especially so in Oregon, which – as most of you probably know – was created as a “utopia for whites”, and had a black exclusion law written into its constitution. There has been extensive vetting of thoughts, feelings and emotions on whether this warrants compassion – or not – on social media. I may be wrong, but I STILL cannot bring myself to regard the situation with that noblest of feelings – whatever the color of the perpetrators. I’m so ragingly upset…(we can all be thankful I don’t have any judicial powers.)