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The Last Bleeding Heart

I cry all the time these days. My wife insists on making a couples ritual of the NBC Nightly News, and even though they’re not nearly comprehensive enough about the unceasing flood of tragedy, I cry at the plight of the people of East Palestine, Ohio, at flood victims in California, at the dead from the American gun massacres, the war of all against all where all lose. And that’s just America. I cry, and I quake with rage and fear, reading of the crumbling of democracy both in America and in the other country I am a citizen of, Israel. I cry about the American women who need abortions and suffer physical and mental anguish because they cannot get them. I cry about the children whose spirits are crushed a little more every day by terroristic lawmakers who steal their books and forbid them to be who they are.

I cry about the plight of the Israelis and the plight of the Palestinians, self inflicted though much of it is—on both sides. I cry for the war in Ukraine that everybody knows about, for the bombed-out cities and countless ruined lives, and even for the clueless Russian conscripts press-ganged off the street and forced into the front lines. And I cry for all the dead in the war in Ethiopia that nobody knows about, for the massacred villagers and the devastated land. I cry with sadness and terror thinking of the irreplaceable living things, entire species and ecosystems destroyed by short-term human greed, while cracks spread in the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, and any day now they will give way and countless millions of people will perish, too.

When I think of the townspeople of East Palestine, and I reflect that many of the people on “my” side and perhaps even you, dear reader, are secretly gratified to see “Trump people” suffer, I want to cry some more, but I am all out of tears. I cry inside thinking of the poor elderly disabled White couple in West Virginia my wife has befriended, even though the wife proudly wrote on Facebook that she agrees with Trump that people from “shithole countries” ought not to come to America, and that must include the son we adopted from Latin America, even though this person acted bewildered and then furious when I finally confronted her about it. I cry because compassion is dead, because perhaps compassion was never anything more than a beautiful illusion and people only really care about themselves and their kin and, maybe, other people who look and think and worship like them. I cry because “bleeding heart” long ago became a term of derision in America and Israel and apparently everywhere else as well. I cry because everywhere, God is invoked by the fanatics who would destroy us all and because the Almighty is silent in the face of their blasphemy and our suffering.


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