Somewhere in the bad news abyss of our daily lives lurks good news. Good happenings. Good people. Sometimes the effort required to find that goodness leads to resignation of effort. Here is my contribution. Pick up a paper clip and read further.
Much of the “bad news” in which our minds are awash deals with “differences.” Differences of opinion in politics, on the question of global warming, about how to “fix” the economy, whether drugs should be de-criminalized, and most of all — about the differences in people. These wonderful United States have had their share of the bad history about differences from race and ethnicity to women’s suffrage and regarding religion. Intolerance of others simply because they’re “different” in some manner from ourselves is an insidious disease of the soul.
The most grave example of religious intolerance, of course, is the holocaust. There are even deluded fools who are so intolerant as to deny even the occurrence of the Holocaust which led to the extermination of six million Jews plus another five million people who differed in other ways from the (self-perceived) German “master” race. Enter the good news in the face of that history. First some background (don’t read the full article — it’ll spoil the movie which I’m about the talk about):
The Paper Clips Project is a project by middle school students from the small southeastern Tennessee city of Whitwell who created a monument for the Holocaust victims in Nazi Germany. It started in 1998 as a simple 8th-grade project and evolved into one gaining worldwide attention. At last count, over 30 million paper clips had been received. Paper Clips, an award-winning documentary film about the project, was released in 2004 by Miramax Films.
This group of 8th-graders, whole classes over a period of several years, began simply collecting paper clips as a method of remembrance, but wound up creating a holocaust memorial that will bring you to tears. I won’t spoil that for you but simply direct you to Blockbuster, Netflix, Amazon, or wherever you find your DVDs.
Good news lies in the fact of the project. The better news is that a large group of young people did it. Their lives were changed — this is real “hope and change.” And your life may be changed by seeing the movie. Now take your paper clip and hug someone who is different from you. If you aren’t compelled to do so right now, that’s fine, but you will after you see the movie!