Remember when you were a child and you were certain that there was something frightening under the bed or in the closet? Mom turned out the lights and you knew, you knew, that just beyond the edge of the night light something was waiting to creep out. You weren’t sure what it looked like or what it would do but you knew it wasn’t anything good.
Today something monstrous crawled out of the closet, out from under the bed. And it did something unspeakable. Or tried to. The monster tried to take away someone’s voice, tried to censure someone for their actions. The monster decided that it had that right and that no one would stop it. It was half right-nobody stopped it.
It doesn’t take much to become a monster, I guess, you just need to make sure that there is no one who will stand in your way, no one who will say, “Stop”, no one who has the slightest desire to stand up for what’s right and not for what’s comfortable or convenient. Monsters need people who will give them what they need to grow more monstrous and this monster found a sizable group.
Now they will huddle around the light and glance uneasily over their shoulders looking into the darkness, wondering when the monster will come for them. And even as they do this they won’t understand that they had created the monster, they thought of it as a kindly, benevolent protector, But a protector does not summarily take away, does not turn someone out, does not make those it protects hesitant and anxious and does not refuse to explain its actions. A protector does not become that which it defends against.
Meanwhile, the person the monster turned away didn’t notice. She was busy with other things and really hadn’t paid much attention to the monster. She never thought much of the monster to begin with. She had never thought of it as a monster, more like a yippy small dog who keeps biting your ankles.
She joined her friends for a drink and they looked at all the people huddled around the light, scared to move for fear of displeasing the monster, people willing to give up just about anything so the monster wouldn’t turn them away. They wondered why the people would surrender their power to create a monster and why they refused to see the fangs.
A monster isn’t always the ugly, big-fanged, flesh-devouring creature of our nightmares, it isn’t the nebulous creature of our childhood, sometimes it is the day you find yourself wondering if you need to ask permission to post a comment, then you are face to face with a monster.
Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters
“May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”