Years ago, when I graduated from college, we all meandered around campus, packing our stuff, getting our affairs sorted out, and of course saying our goodbyes before heading out into the real world.
A thing I remember fondly happened between two of my classmates. She was Jewish girl from Jersey, he was a Kuwaiti Muslim. They could often be a volatile mix – he’d always insist on referring to Israel as “Palestine”, which he knew would make her angry and from time to time they’d get into an argument.
And yet, on one of those farewell days, I ran into her, finding her wiping tears from her eyes. When I asked her what was wrong, she said nothing was wrong. She’d met our Kuwaiti classmate on the street and he’d given her a hug, wished her well and told her that she’d made him change his opinion about Jews.
I dunno. It’s a small thing, and the world has become even more polarized since then, but liberté, égalité, fraternité are as fine as ideals come, and they should apply to everyone. So whenever things seems overly bleak, I think of that moment on the street in Providence and hope that someday we can get our collective shit together and maybe get along.