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Stranger than Fiction | Matt Kriese

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

There are few natural phenomena that truly capture the might of cosmos to the extent that a solar eclipse does. This ultra-rare experience was something that I thought a great many people would be highly interested in; if not for the scientific splendor of the event than at least for the incredible infrequency of it.

Alas, for every person who shared my fascination with this celestial wonder it seemed that there were equal amounts of people (if not more) who were deeply uninterested in this historic moment. “It literally is just dark,” I heard while I fixated my gaze upon the crescent sun. “I can achieve the same effect by covering my eyes,” I heard as one student joked with her friend. While at that moment I thought these snide remarks were the last thing I wanted to hear, I was far more shaken when I read the news from across the nation and the ways in which communities responded to the eclipse.

“I WOULD LIKE TO FORMALLY APOLOGIZE”

On an overpass on the I-5 in Oregon, a place that fell soundly into the zone of totality, a known local bigot and anti-Semitic hung a sign over bumper-to-bumper traffic that read, “UNJEW HUMANITY.” It would seem impossible that a purely cosmic event could serve as a platform for individuals to push any political agenda, regardless of how radical said agenda might be. Yet, as with this passing moment in this nation, some radicalized voice used it as a chance to make a statement.

Reading about this story seemed otherworldly to me in and of itself. There is no inkling of a reason for any event such as the eclipse to be politicized in any capacity; yet, we live in 2017 America where everything must be made into politics. So, I would like to formally apologize to the people I was furious at, the ones who bad-mouthed the eclipse itself. Thank you for at least paying attention to the one thing that day that was bigger than the hatred and bigotry that the shadow of the moon cast itself upon and please continue to mock stars and moons, not people.

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