Today, I overheard two statements that made me think.
And worry, more than a little.
Of course, that’s what I do. I worry.
The first was something along the lines “he admitted he was morally guilty…” but “denied he had committed any crime”.
The second, in an interview discussing the looming British election “the idea of voting with your heart and hoping for some change…”
Two overheard snatches of discussion, though seemingly unrelated, seemed suddenly, and terribly, connected.
The power, responsibility and role of the individual in the great sweep of history and world events. When most people are simply worried about making ends meet and what they may, or may not, watch on TV tonight.
The feeling of helplessness that so many experience when considering where to place their cross on the ballot paper.
Will it make any difference? Does anyone care? Why bother?
Well, of course, the answer is yes, it does matter.
It matters an enormous amount.
As indeed does the trial of the former guard at Auschwitz who admitted to “moral guilt” but not to committing a “crime”.
It made me think where moral guilt starts.
And, where committing a crime starts and ends. And what is moral guilt?
If we don’t vote, and the government that takes power goes on to commit atrocities, where do our responsibilities begin and end?
And, in collecting the money, yet asking for a transfer to other duties, how guilty is that guard. Really.
And what would any of us do?
When we stand in judgement, do we stand in the shoes of all those ordinary people who allowed it to happen, looked the other way, felt powerless, or intimidated, or abused, or afraid. I wonder?
And crucially, at what point would we realise that our actions, or inactions, form part of a continuum that enables atrocities to take place.
Something worth thinking about before placing that cross on a slip of paper?
I think so.
(For the last two weeks I have been attempting to learn how to write better. I’ve been taking part in Writing 101, an online course hosted by Michelle W from the WordPress Blogging U.
Today’s prompt was “take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction.” Each prompt comes with a twist. Today’s twist was to ‘include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.”
(for wordpress writing 101 – day twelve)