Yesterday was Patriots' Day in Boston, a holiday commemorating the first shots fired in the American Revolution. When the two blasts went off at the Boston Marathon, Americans chose once again not to retreat and turn inward toward themselves, but outward toward one another. Amid the chaos and tragedy – and our anger – we should take a moment to recognize the kindness and resilience people displayed yesterday. In one news account after another, one could hear stories about how total strangers responded to the blasts: they ran into the mayhem to help one another. They lifted people up and brought them to medical care, they wrapped tourniquets around injured limbs, they comforted one another.
People did not recoil, but stepped forward.
There is the story, too, of Boston.com which ran this headline: "Need a place to stay? Fill out this form." The service matched people from out of town with strangers who were willing to make available their bedrooms, sofas, and floors for people to sleep.
It is often said that our politics and public life no longer work because people no longer care about one another. But that's wrong. People do care. It's built into our very DNA. We would do well to find more and better ways to express that caring in our larger politics and public life.
But for today let us mourn the death of the three victims and pray for the recovery of those who have been injured.
And let us also recognize people's goodness – and the possibility and hope that it offers us.