Murder Thy Enemy
In my conversation with Bonnie Rough on Tuesday’s Author2Author I made what is generally considered a talk show faux pas when I compared my guest to Adolf Hitler. My intentions were benign. I was merely pointing out that she, like everyone else (including Hitler), lives within the reality of the story she is telling herself. In this way the story we tell about ourselves is more important than whatever “reality” may or may not be. Germaine or not, no one is every too happy having their name mentioned in the same sentence as Hitler. I thought about this today as my son Sawyer and I, for our homeschooling, were slogging or way through parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 of a documentary about Joseph Stalin. By the end of this marathon, after hearing testimonials from gulag survivors, interrogation survivors, after hearing about starvation and murder, after all this I found myself rooting for the Nazis to capture Moscow.
This is actually true. I was rooting for the Nazis even though they were, well, Nazis, and even though I knew perfectly well they would be done in by the Russian winter. Anything to end this strange creeping feeling within me. The more I found myself hating Stalin, the more I was fantasizing how if I had been a citizen of Moscow I would have assassinated the man, my own safety be damned; the more I steeped my mind in this insane brew, the more I felt I understood Stalin. I fear him, even from my couch in 2012 Seattle I fear him, and so I must eliminate him. Kill everything you fear, it is the only sure solution.
I glanced at my son. He was winding his fingers around a twist of hair in his bangs. As the documentary continued, as the death toll mounted, he twisted and twisted and twisted until he formed a knot above his right eyebrow.
“Let go of it!” I snapped.
“It’s none of your business, Dad,” he snapped back.
The people had spoken; the dictator was deposed. I collapsed back into the cushions of my couch as part five came to an end. There was a part six, but neither of us moved to play it. I was done murdering my enemies, and Sawyer was done twisting his hair.
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