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Offering a dissenting opinion at this moment of a general outpouring of grief at Nelson Mandela’s death is not likely to court popularity. It is also likely to be misunderstood.
So let me start by recognizing Mandela’s huge achievement in helping to bring down South African apartheid, and make clear my enormous respect for the great personal sacrifices he made, including spending so many years caged up for his part in the struggle to liberate his people. These are things impossible to forget or ignore when assessing someone’s life.
In the echoing words of the late Susan Sontag: "Let's by all means grieve together, but let's not be stupid together." She wrote that to Americans after 9/11. It applies maybe quadruple after the Boston bombings -- and to us as well.