Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Everybody Is Right

The words popped out of Shawna's mouth before she could stop them. "How can everybody's beliefs be right? I mean, what about Adolf Hitler?" Ms. Carmona and two of the other girls at the table laughed lightly at Shawna's obvious naivete. She felt her face flush warm. "That's just the point, Shawna," the teacher responded. "Adolf Hitler had the right to believe whatever he wanted. But by imposing his beliefs on others, he displayed his intolerance and paid for it with his life. Decent people saw through the German dictator's intolerance and put an end to it—and to him—by defeating his country in the Second World War." The other girls at the table nodded knowingly.

 Another question popped into Shawna's head. It seemed odd to her that the beliefs of Adolf Hitler—whom Terilyn equated with Daniel Bellardi—qualified as intolerance while the beliefs of the "decent people" who defeated him were seen as right. If all truths and beliefs and lifestyles are equal, why were we right and the Nazis wrong? The things Hitler did were wrong, but our side also killed a lot of people in the name of what we believed. What's the difference? But this time Shawna kept her lips zipped. She already felt stupid for exposing her ignorance. Ms. Carmona obviously knows what she's talking about, so there must be a logical explanation. All I need to do is keep quiet and listen. It will all make sense to me eventually—especially if I find out more about these "higher powers" that Ms. Carmona says can help me.

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