We Endorse Evil When We Wait for Others to Stand Up
We do not know the differences between right or wrong, as all nations inch closer to the “Highlander Stratagem: “there can be only one, the rest can serve, then die.”
When was the last time you were floored by four, “Norman Rockwell” old white guys? It never happens when you expect, I can assure you.
If there was any doubt in my mind, my experiences since last August have come close to killing any disillusions about my fellow “white” folk. Nope. We give up ethical clarity long ago, the collapse of societies is tied exponentially to the size of its moral ambiguity, and that can’t be legislated or won in combat. To my story, then.
I had been invited to a weekly “guy gathering” at a local tray table chow hall wanna be. The neighbor is tall, about six feet three, or four inches. Super friendly, nice, and a pastor. Who is also firm in his denials that his far-right views actually exist. aof his Trumped brainwashing, blind to his racist programming, which is ridicious since any anthropologist will tell you, “culture” is not a thing called “race”, I have asked them not to tell me what church, whom I have come to enjoy the company of, even though we are constantly at loggerheads regarding theology, philosophy, and many things. I believe we both think we are making progress on the others stances, but who can know? If I had known he was a pastor, I wouldn’t have ever agreed to attend. The others are long time members of the same church. I am not a member.
Honestly, I believe I was invited because I am white, but it was so refreshing to be able to be around people who are not always on the verge of an existential crisis, or knee deep in rare drama every other week.
So, I had happily accepted.
Then I had to face an aspect of “being white”, I had thought a fluke when I experienced a similar thing when in the Marines.
You see, because of my skin color, the assumption is I am a part of the “club”. Well, hearts and minds were never changed by immediately disengaging, so I took to my task of compassionately using pure reason and logic to unmask the error of their ways with a vigor I had not displayed in a couple of decades.
They care, we have had discussions that can leave little doubt, yet I could not understand why, when they got onto discussing the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that they were excusing murder. I stopped them to interject a firm interruption, that the act was murder, and I believe was the beginning of a fundamental change in American culture, that at that moment, we might have become the “bad guys”. They weren’t hearing a word I said. I could have grunting for all the labored explanations they gave, about how it was ok, they obviously believed I was not educated in the history of the events, or that I was mentally challenged.
No one should ever be silent about cold-blooded murder on unimaginable scales. Ever.
That they believe their positions were correct really got under my skin. “How can Christians not see how a stance like theirs, simply is not supported when held up to the ‘Is this Love” test?
Since then, I have been increasingly bothered by the certainty that their ideas are not fringe, by any stretch of my imagination. The number of those for whom this atrocity is completely justified and ordained by God, is something I cannot remain silent about.
Not that I have any notion that this article will change any hearts or minds, or open up real opportunity for a change in stance, no, this article is about dealing with my own outrage, pain for the lost, and heartbreak at my own false beliefs.
I must battle the small innocent compromises that sell off my soul unwittingly.
Let me be clear on my stance regarding this sad part of World War II. We may have been the good guys, but we had a test to face, do the right thing, which was risky and hard, but would have allowed us to retain our soul firmly in hand. We, however, as a nation, did the quick thing, which was ugly, but we could say on some level, necessary. Here is my rational:
Is it possible that when, rather than drop an atomic bomb off the coast of Japan to demonstrate the destructive power it unleashed, and then petition the Japanese Empire to surrender, we instead, murdered hundreds of thousands of civilian men, women, and children, without granting them the humanity of a choice.
In one fell swoop we became the most unimaginable, cold, and smiling villain in all human history.
We then set about convincing everyone that we would never use it on them. All the while, President Truman would casually inject the threat of “We’ll drop it on ya,” whenever a recalcitrant nation wasn’t listening to the “beneficent advice” of the humble U.S. We also began spying on everyone, even our own allies.
Think on that. Recall any of the atrocities you can remember from history class that occurred after World War II around the world. The CIA owned the swiss company that made decryption devices bought by most countries around the world. The CIA retained ownership in the company until 2018. That means our government was aware of all the horrible things perpetrated around the world, often before they occurred.
Yet we did nothing to stop atrocities? I do not believe it is ok to spy on our allies, at least perhaps not bugging and listening to every conversation, but if we did it, why didn’t we at least attempt to stop the murder of innocents? Was it because the CIA didn’t want to lose the ability t spy by tipping their hand?
That puts blood on all our hands because the government, and all its intuitions are of the people, by the people.
Not a hard leap to make for a government that spies on its allies, to then spy on its own people. These compromises of reason our grandparents, parents, and ourselves made have led to where we are at. We need a re-boot. We need to wake up.
Finally, back on the original point, that launched this article ,what possessed American citizens to completely fail to immediately redress the terrible wrong that was done, no matter the justification, in the name of humanity itself?
Is fear of attack, the pleasure of money, or the threat of horrific death worth accepting the loss of human dignity, the loss of our very soul? Is the ascent of pure, self-serving & haughty avarice, our punishment for surrendering any notion of a righteous soul and making “whatever it takes”, our only “winning" strategic policy?
Ever stop to consider what other non-Americans truly see when they gaze upon us?
Look, this isn’t an attempt to guilt, or incriminate, or flame anyone reading this. It is a call for me, and anyone who sees the sense of what I see as well, to stop and ask, “Are we the bad guys? Are we the good guys?”
We are we are just humans; and life is what it is. or, cynically, are there self-deluded “Machiavellian Oligarchs”, all over the earth, certain of their “evolved” and “deserved” positions of wealth, privilege and power?
Meanwhile, the rest of us, kept off kilter by the latest crisis, incensed about the recent appalling (and definitely unpatriotic) bill that was passed, or person appointed in government, or entranced by the latest tech gadget, scientific discovery, or pet TV distraction or web game, to really have the time, energy, or resources to spend taking responsibility for those we chose to represent us, and, by extension, to see clearly the reality going on around our own personal, and curated, bubbles of self- deception?
Have we truly fooled ourselves so thoroughly? Like Pinocchio, except this Pinocchio is all of us, each of us in our own, personal Truman Show, where we believe each of us is the “authentic star” fighting the system, or shedding light on the “Truth”?
Man, we are all going to die.
We should learn and teach critical thinking first and make that the building block of our institutions. We should bring mortality, and Love, and true authenticity back into daily discourse, as the main dish of public life, rather than what we currently see, and what used to be what I once thought of as the greatest society in the history of Western Civilization.
No one should be between you and being ready for your own death. That is a potent truth. Accept it, or reject, but we must begin to WAKE UP!
A. Yobi B.