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How We Can Commemorate Boston

We can run towards a world where atrocities don't happen.

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Shortly after the bombings, President Obama went on national television to declare that the U.S. government would hunt down and punish the perpetrators. What he didn’t talk about, and what we mostly don’t talk about, is that we live in a world steeped in violence, mass shootings and attacks on civilians. That we help construct a world where cities shutter school and hospitals to increase police budgets, where arms dealing is a billion-dollar industry and where two U.S.-launched wars over ten years have resulted in only more lost lives.

Instead of staying on this same course, perhaps we can instead stagger uphill towards peace. Perhaps we can run toward an idea of nationalism that does not include committing acts abroad that we consider unconscionable at home. After an act of violence occurs, an end to militarism may seem like a delusional, utopian goal — an epic, super-human undertaking. But so is running a marathon. And if tens of thousands of athletes can return to Boston’s race next year — as you know they will, as I plan to do — then there’s no reason that, until then, we can’t cheer for peace as loudly as the crowds in Boston. There’s no reason that we can’t all take part in a marathon’s original challenge: to defy the limits of what everyone believes is possible.

 

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.