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This we learned of the tragic passing of two people, separated by geography, fame, and class, and the fact that they did not know one another, but brought together by the tragic way in which they passed, and my reaction to the tragedy of these passings.
As an actor Robin Williams could make me laugh. As a person he could do so much more. As personal accounts of Robin Williams’ honest spirit and generous soul multiplied on the internet in the wake of his tragic death, I was reminded of how poignant and life-affirming my moments with Robin Williams would have been, had I had any, and of how much more tragic these past days might have felt had I known him personally.
But from within every tragedy comes triumph, and I am sure I would have found the strength and the courage to go on, feeling that his generous spirit and honest soul was with me all along, perhaps saving a special place in my heart for a certain anecdote.
Michael Brown and Darren Wilson were actors too, albeit unwitting actors, on a stage much more high-stakes than the thespian stage: the stage of life. As the nation mourns the death of yet another unarmed black teenager, I can’t help but think of what I would have done were I at the scene of the tragic crime:
"Hey, you two," I wish I had had the chance to say, "Let’s set aside the question of what either of you have allegedly done for a moment. Can’t you see that it is not dispositional but situational forces that have driven you into this alleged conflict, and that it is only once we mindfully cast off the burdens of our respective situations that have been imposed on us by our Systems and Ways of Life and finally fully affirm one another’s humanity without regard to context or situation that we can all exist in this world as our true, authentic selves?”
Alas, these are things that never transpired; happenings that never took place. If only the “If only’s” in this world weren’t exactly that.
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