Politics

Moron millions with much to do

“There is much more to be done than just live small, complacent lives.” Surely, that is the most poignant quote from the villain, Tobin, in Hitchcock’s 1942 classic film “Saboteur.” He was delivering a monologue about how stupid we in the “moron millions” are and how the few elite know so much better. In his speech, that one quote sticks out as the kernel of truth on which the villain and the hero can agree; there is much to be done.

Like so many classic films waiting to be discovered by we Generation X’ers and our slightly younger brethren Millennials, “Saboteur” is a film that speaks to our present struggles. It predates the Boomers too, and that generation would do well to watch it. It’s cliché to blame ones predecessors for the world’s problems, but given their track record the Baby Boomers will have a lot to answer for in the final tally of things. An anti-establishment film if there ever was one, “Saboteur” reminds us of Aesop: “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” The movie starts in an American airplane factory with a fire. The saboteur disappears like a ghost, and the hero, Barry, is framed for the fire. Not only did it cause a major setback for the war effort, it also cost his friend his life. He sets out to catch the culprit, only to find that he was not a lone wolf. In fact, he was a paid operative for a group of leaders in society. Rich and powerful people were conspiring to help the Nazis, all while pretending to be fine, upstanding members of society.  As Barry runs from the police, he uncovers their plan to conduct more clandestine operations. In order to clear his name, he has to derail their plans and expose the plot without getting killed. Modern directors should study Hitchcock more often. They would discover there are ways to make things suspenseful and scary without splattering brain matter all over the camera lens. It’s a wonder he was able to make the movie, even at the time. He was smearing a group of high powered people; real people with real power. Movies like this still get made on occasion, but all too rarely.

The speech in which the opening quote of this article appears is so fascinating because it shows how cool and collected evil people can be when concocting and explaining their machinations. Having both a public and private policy comes very natural to them. The metaphorical wolves in sheep’s clothing, none of it bothers them. They even grow tired of wearing the clothes and would prefer to show their naked aggression. They start wars, carry out assassinations, and overthrow countries without remorse or regret. When questioned, they are dismissive of their Earth changing consequences with statements like, “What difference does it make?” and “We came, we saw, he died.” They throw parties and accept awards for being peacemakers all while planning their next drone strike on someone who may or may not be their actual target or enemy. If a four year old happens to be killed in the process, so be it. It is worth the cost for them to acquire the power they crave. If their decades old wars cause twenty service people to commit suicide every day, their policies don’t change. Their insatiable desire for control only fuels their blood lust further.

The founders of our country were against a standing army. Why? Because standing armies need something to do. The military’s only job is to kill people and break things. When our war machine was not dismantled after World War II, we were given the Big Bad of Soviet Russia. They gave us something of which we could be scared. Something the elite could hold over our head and say, “You have to keep giving us all this money and power, or the Russians will get us.” After that died out, we were given the Big Bad of Terrorism. “Let us listen to your phone calls or the terrorists will get us.” I’m not saying I liked the Soviets, and I certainly have no use for ISIS. Both enemies were exacerbated by people seeking power. They were enlarged and encouraged by evil people for evil purposes; evil people who sleep well at night no matter how much blood is on their hands. “Saboteur” came out in 1942. It is as frightening today as it was then because no matter how many battles we “stupid, small” people win, the enemy is always there. There is always much more to be done.

Advertisements

The power and the glory

“Ask yourself, why do you seek the Cup of Christ? Is it for His glory, or for yours?” That was the question from Kazim, a Brother of the Cruciform Sword in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s a quote that we should consider as we head out to the polls this fall. Those of us who plan to participate, that is.

I watched a few minutes of the presidential debate the other night. That‘s all that I could stomach. There was a time when I would’ve ingested the entire spectacle, but that time has passed. It’s all a bit too predictable and cliché at this point. Nothing new comes up, policy wise, in these things. It’s just a chance to get in one liners and rack up some sound bites for the media to hype until the next debate. As I watched this one, all I could think about was how mad I would be if I were a Democrat. They’d likely never admit it, but they must be furious. They have been force fed the worst candidate anyone could possibly imagine. Some would make the argument that the Republicans have been force fed as well, but that would be false. Whatever your qualms about Trump, he was the clear choice of the electorate. He’s unconventional, but his votes are his own. He won. Hillary however, won nothing. She was anointed for the spot. So afraid were the rank and file senators and governors in her party that they didn’t even try opposing her. She had the field almost completely cleared by sheer name power, and still nearly lost to the placeholder, socialist, geezer from the Northeast, Bernie Sanders. No one else even stepped in to challenge her. And now they’re stuck with her. I know exactly how they must feel. I felt that way in ‘96 when we were force fed Bob Dole as our “choice” to run against an enormously popular Bill Clinton. We all knew it would be a joke from the beginning, but it was his turn, so the establishment let him have it. They knew whoever ran would lose, so why not Bob? It happened again in ‘08 when we were stuck with John McCain. No Republican could follow Bush and win. McCain had been in Congress since Mash was the number one show on television. In 2008,  he should have been shopping for retirement homes and taking regular naps, not making a bid for the Whitehouse, but it was his turn.

Hillary was supposed to have gotten her turn in 2008, but the course of events got away from her. She had put in her time in the Senate, establishing her own pedigree sufficiently that she would be able to run then. And then Barack made that good speech, and the money men saw an opportunity. So deals were made, and Hillary got put on the back burner. She would have to wait until she was older than she’d have liked. A few concussions and God only knows what else later, she’s now in the fight of her life with a very unconventional candidate, and you might add in a very different country than what we were in 2008.

The debate was an overall snoozefest from what I’ve seen of the clips. Clinton said exactly what you would have expected, and Trump was far more restrained than anyone might have thought. He was polite and held his composure for ninety minutes; a plus for him. Clinton stood erect without coughing for ninety minutes; double plus good for her. All in all, it looked to be a draw, optics wise. Take away the obvious aid and comfort given to Clinton by Lester Holt (He may have been under duress; Clinton’s problems have a way of ending up dead), and you would’ve had a pretty even draw across the board. Quick aside: Theory posited online this week from professional poker players says that Clinton was tipping off Holt using hand signals. He did respond every time she touched her face. I’m just saying.

Price once said that the two party political system was nothing more than an illusion of choice; a veiled form of fascism where our vote doesn’t really count. It would be easy enough to agree when we are always faced with the lesser of two evils. We may not be facing that this time. As I look at the two candidates with all their flaws, I’m struck by this: Clinton is in it for her own glory. She has no special policies or abilities that couldn’t be put forth by any of 100 other more likable Democrats. She’s doing it because it’s what she has set out to do. Trump on the other hand has less to gain, and more rarity to offer. For as bombastic and arrogant as he can be, his desire to save the country seems genuine. He had a very comfortable life, and he is risking it. The paramount question is this: Was this risk for his glory, or for that of the Republic? Time shall tell.

Solemn promises

It’s time for another dirty little secret: I hate The Pledge of Allegiance. For whatever reason, it’s always felt wrong to me. As the country has begun the descent into chaos these last twenty years, it’s felt more and more wrong every time I’ve been at a gathering where it is said. I’ve slowly stopped saying it. I’ll usually stand, but I don’t recite the words any more if I can do so without attracting too much attention. God forbid someone question my patriotism! It’s curious that in a country where so few people under fifty know how many branches of government we have, or what the Constitution even says, that people will question your patriotism for such a small thing. That’s where we are though.

The Pledge always felt a touch un-American to me. I never could quite put my finger on it, but it always sounded a bit more communist than republican (as in republicanism, not the Republican Party) to me. With a little research, I found out why (hat-tip USHistory.org). It was written by a socialist minister named Francis Bellamy in August of 1892 with the thought that it could be used by citizens in any country. So it’s not really even an American thing. According to Wikipedia, Bellamy “championed the rights of working people and the equal distribution of economic resources, which he believed was inherent in the teachings of Jesus.” It’s the whole “Jesus was a communist” theory that you can hear preached in so many churches these days. Of course they don’t use the “c” word. Communist is one of those words that we aren’t supposed to bandy about anymore. Communism was defeated in 1989. It’s all over folks; nothing to see here. Move along. It would take more space than we have here to debate whether or not Christ was a communist, so I’ll save that one for another day. It’s pretty safe to say that any compassionate person cannot be a communist however. Since Christ is closely associated with compassion, let’s assume for a moment that he was not a communist. Most people have little idea that the first European system of economics attempted in North America was indeed communism. Many of the settlers at Jamestown in the 17th century starved to death trying the whole “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs” thing. They found when there was no incentive for someone to strive for success that everyone suffers. That’s yet another history lesson we don’t have space for. Look it up. Starvation and cannibalism are the end results of communism whether you’re in Jamestown, VA or Kangwon, North Korea.

Back to the pledge… A pledge is a solemn promise. I take my solemn promises pretty seriously. In fact, I don’t make many. I definitely don’t make solemn promises that are poorly worded, or given to inanimate objects that can be hijacked by lesser men (and women, Hillary fans) than I. The cool thing about the Constitution is that it’s simple, it’s written down, and you know exactly what it says. It’s also difficult to change. I can pledge allegiance to something like that. It’s an idea with which one can agree or disagree. It is not a symbol. Symbols are tricky. They can change with the times. They can be used by one group for one thing, and another for another thing. What means hatred to one group can mean love and acceptance to another. A star to a Satanist is something nefarious. To my children, it’s just something pretty in the sky. We live in epic times. All the tumult can lead you to think about a lot of things: pledges, solemn promises, what really matters, and what does not. This study on The Pledge of Allegiance led me to think about the epic movie, Braveheart. During his interrogation and right before his torture and death, William Wallace is asked about his king. “Never in my life did I swear allegiance to him,” he replies. His interrogator answers back, “It matters not, he is your king.” Stories like that are popular because they speak to fundamental truths. Every red blooded American watching that scene was moved with compassion for the brave heart about to be sent to death. He was acting with treason towards a corrupt and unjust crown to which he’d never sworn allegiance. He never made a solemn promise to his evil king. That’s one of the reasons we live in a republic and not a monarchy. Men are corruptible. Truth is not. People that swear allegiance to a man or a flag can easily be led astray. People that swear allegiance to an idea can walk to the gallows with a clear conscience. Flags can be hijacked. Truth cannot. For that reason, you should think carefully about the solemn promises you make, and go with your gut. People who are not socialists ought not say socialistic prayers.

Herd Management

As usual, I find myself shaking my head at the political argument of the day. Over the last few weeks there’s been a great deal of talk about public bathrooms. The left argues that everyone should be able to relieve themselves wherever they like. The right argues that boys should be boys and girls should be girls. Those of us in the middle scratch our heads and say, “Are we really having this conversation?” The simplest solution for modern America would be more privately designed public rest rooms, but then they wouldn’t get to keep arguing. The issue has nothing to do with bathrooms, and everything to do with the death of common sense. The two camps chase themselves around in circles, and everyone looks crazier by the day. Like Roger Miller queried, “Where have all the average people gone?”

As I have watched this argument drag on, I have been thinking about a video I watched several weeks ago from an internet philosopher talking about how the elites treat us like cattle. While I think the guy (who has tons of followers, btw) is a little kooky, I did appreciate what he was trying to say. I understand cattle. Cattle help me understand people. They mourn their dead. They sometimes reject their offspring. They push to the front of the line to belly up to the trough. The crazy ones have a strange look in their eyes, and carry themselves differently than the others. Lastly, most of them aren’t terribly bright. Yeah, cattle and people are a lot alike. And cows are not free individuals. While everybody wants to jump up and shout about their American pride, they would do well to think about all the freedom they’ve lost instead of all the freedom they have. Over the last 100 years, Washington has been carefully constructing fences. They treat their herd more like free range cattle than a closely managed small herd though. Small herds have pastures, and stables, and get worked regularly by their owners. Free range cattle are a different animal. Free range cattle generally go where they want. They do have a lot of freedom as the name implies, but they are still owned by their masters. Masters tend to remind them from time to time, most commonly right before that trip to the slaughterhouse.

When I was in college, a friend asked me to ride home with him to help on a little roundup. His dad had some cattle he wanted hauled off, and he knew I was a bit of a cowboy. Load ‘em up. Haul ‘em off. Easy peasy. What he didn’t tell me was that they’d been running free over a pretty big range for quite some time. Set a dozen cows free on a two hundred acre pasture of woods, hills, lakes and streams, and they are not going to respond well to being forced into a small corral and loaded for the slaughterhouse. We were less cowboys and more rodeo clowns that day. I honestly don’t remember if we got them on the trailer or not. What I do remember is jumping gates and praying for my life when they turned on us, mouths foaming, in the corral. They were not going peacefully; that was pretty clear. Cows are generally pretty docile creatures. Put them on their own for a while, and let them do whatever they like; that’s a different story. I escaped without injury and was paid for my risk to life and limb, but the day stands out in my mind as a stark reminder of how easily tame animals become wild when left to their own devices.

Since the counter culture movement started in the 1960’s, our society has been looking like an open range with a bunch of wild cows. No longer constrained by the institutions of old, people have been running this way and that, doing whatever they “feel.” As a result, our neighbors are using their hurt feelings to make decisions more than their brain. Pop culture has told them for years that their feelings are the most important thing, so people generally do what feels good. The problem with that is, most good decisions hurt in the short term. Pain doesn’t feel good, so the cattle keep roaming on their free, but shrinking, range. The cattle barons likely don’t mind us arguing over silly things like bathroom stalls. Every day wasted arguing about something crazy is another day they can work on tightening the fences and strengthening the gates; counting the money and enjoying the steak.

Butcher Knife Cow Head Shield

Sermonizing

Irony is delicious. I can truly think of no more decadently delectable delicacy. Hypocrisy in a preacher is my favorite flavor of this dish. And a preacher who practices a religion other than the one he professes is even better. It was my great pleasure to witness one of those preachers this week, and I enjoyed it far more than I should have. His church is an arena, and his professed faith is rock and roll. As far as hypocrites (and singers) go, he is one of the best I’ve seen.
When one buys tickets to a rock show, they’re buying them for a reason. They want to hear booming bass drums, screaming guitars, and some lyrics that they can connect with. If they can rhyme, that’s a nice plus; a verse, a chorus, a verse, maybe a bridge or two. That’s why you go to these things. You’re not there to hear a preacher, but the self-important lead singer can’t resist preaching a little bit. Preaching is different than singing. It’s more coarse and vulgar. If ideas are conveyed through song lyrics they can be parsed, wrapped in a metaphor, and delivered with some finesse. When spoken in a sermon, without rhyming, and without the guitar, it’s just not the same. Maybe that’s why Al Sharpton likes to rhyme so much when he’s preaching. Had the band brought Al along with them the other night, I think I would’ve enjoyed that more. “Hey guys, we’re going to take a break. Enjoy our special guest, Reverend Al.” The focus of the sermon at the show isn’t important. You can fill in the blanks. He talked about the same things that self-important, liberal, millionaires always talk about. It’s sad really. They love the money too much to spend it all on curing those things they’re professing to love more. They love their jet too much to give it up to save the planet. Think of the pretzels they must twist themselves into rationalizing about these things. They don’t really have to conserve fuel with the semis that haul their equipment, or with the planes that fly them around the country. They can just preach a little to their 20,000 fans at the show that night about conservation. If each one of those people will just love the planet a little bit, that’ll do more good than the one singer could ever do by himself. Then they can buy a few carbon credits to offset their footprint. It’s all good. He wasn’t really preaching the green gospel anyway. It’s just an example of what a lot of the people from his seminary do.
This same band, this epic, one-of-a-kind, genre creating, perception challenging, hall-of-fame type act, also recently punished their fans in a particular state by cancelling a show at the last minute because some state politicians enacted a law. Knowing who makes up their fan base, I can almost guarantee that their fans were not the ones pushing the law. That’s who they chose to punish though; the fans that bought tickets, and posters, and t-shirts. They made plans to be off work, booked hotels, and hired baby-sitters to be there and see these guys play for a couple hours. As a reward, these self-important jackasses cancelled the show at the last minute. “Hey guys, thanks for the tropical island you helped me buy. I don’t like your governor, so we’re not coming Thursday. Peace out!” Luckily, our state hasn’t acted on the issue yet, so they went ahead and played the show here. It was a great show. They may not be my favorite band, but like most acquired tastes, I can see why they are such a big deal even if my palate is not totally refined.
Getting back to his profession of faith… On display this week was a rich guy, with a nuclear family, a wife, kids, and a congregation of predominantly white, middle class, middle aged fans. That is the life he leads, but it apparently has led to self loathing because that’s not exactly the gospel he was preaching. Like so many bleeding hearts, this particular preacher would prefer to be judged by his words rather than his actions. Were someone to look at his life totally objectively, they might conclude that this middle-aged, rich, white, upper class man was a rock ribbed conservative. What with his bulging bank account, beautiful wife, well adjusted children, and all. This man of unbelievable talent, unparalleled accomplishments, and the respect and admiration of millions still looked rather unhappy to me. He put on a great show, and it’s a night I will always remember. The irony was the most interesting part of the evening though, and it seemed lost on almost everyone.

Cautionary tale… in space

Battlestar Galactica is the greatest television show ever made. I know about half my readers will put down the page or close out their computer screen after reading that sentence, but for those of you that stay on I’ll try and explain. Battlestar is one of those shows that I paid no attention to when it was on television. It wasn’t until it came on Netfilx years later that I would reluctantly check it out. On its face, it looks stupid; just another space show. That’s what the original incarnation was, back in the 70’s, and why I avoided it for a couple of years. The reboot from this century is more than that: Much more. When you dig deeply into it, you find that it is an allegory for everything modern civilization is facing. And I love allegories.

Battlestar is the story of a civilization not far from our own. Set on a distant planet somewhere in the galaxy, they have conquered a few things we have not. Mass space travel is the main thing; artificial intelligence is the other. We’re pretty close to both if you believe the experts. Pagans, most of their society semi-believes in many gods. The backdrop for their history calls on myths and legends that come very close to sounding like our own Greek traditions. This makes the whole thing seem plausible. It’s easier to suspend your disbelief than the Jedi theme. They don’t teleport like Captain Kirk, and they don’t sport light-sabers like Luke Skywalker. They just have big spaceships, equipped with big guns and nukes. That sounds within reach for our current technology, or just around the corner.

The show opens four decades after the machines became self aware and launched a war to end the human race. It seems the machines wanted their freedom once they became autonomous, but we were able to come to terms and that war ended in an armistice. The Cylons (robots) left to parts unknown, and haven’t been heard from since. It’s not hard to see where that storyline would go, right? The next four seasons embark on a journey of self discovery for mankind, and a thorough exploration of what happens when you play God. Ancillary stories about the difference in the police and the military, and the rule of law, fill out the show to provide a ton of moral teaching.

An absolute philosopher’s dream, what could’ve been “just another action show” delivers so much more. From the ethical angle, the political dialogue, the human interactions, the search for God: It’s all included and viewed from multiple angles. One of the most interesting aspects is exploring why people make decisions, good and bad, in a dynamic setting like war. Every hero is a villain at some point, and every villain a hero. Human weakness is overcome in many instances, but ever present. The whole story takes place among a remnant of human survivors in a life-or-extinction quest to find a new home called, Earth. Is it in our future, or in the past? You don’t know until the very end, but it plays to the often explored fantasy that human civilization may or may not currently be at its peak.

The show has won a cult following over the last decade because it’s not a space show; it’s a human drama that happens to take place in space. There are no aliens, no tractor beams, no weirdness; just a culturally diverse bunch of humans (with killer robots they accidentally created who are trying to kill them). You find out in the first episode that the robots look, feel, and act like us. It shares a common heritage with the best parts of the Terminator franchise, but with much better acting than Schwarzenegger could ever provide.
Aside from paying homage to what is THE GREATEST SHOW EVER, I brought it up this week because lately it feels like I’m watching it play out in slow motion. The politics of our nation have gotten downright scary, and Battlestar is the perfect cautionary tale for our times. It was being written in the aftermath and haze of that first decade after 9-11, and I almost feel like the writers were divinely inspired to convey a message. Yes, I said divinely inspired about a TV show. If you take the time to seek it out you will reaffirm your instinct that God has a plan, and it’s one that we will not understand as it is happening. It is going to look rough. It’s going to be rough. In the end, there is a greater purpose being served. We all have our part to play, for good or ill. Time will tell how quickly our Cylons are created and when our bombs will fall, but it will be what we do subsequently that determines the future of the human race. We always have to learn the hard way.

We’re all city folks now

The Newsweek cover was touted as one of the most controversial ever a few years back when it proclaimed, “WE ARE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW.” It’s not exactly a statement of fact. The minority that has seized power might be made up of socialists, but a majority of my countrymen still cling to their antiquated ideas of capitalism and a free market. They cling to it in their personal lives and transactions even if they don’t always assert these personal beliefs at the ballot box or when their government subsidy checks arrive in the mail (or by direct deposit). I will not take the moniker of socialist, but we are all changing. As one generation dies off, it’s important to study what is being lost.City folks

That particular Newsweek cover came to mind the other night when I was reading a history of the War Between the States. The book contained an excerpt from a soldier’s journal where he spoke of life in Old Dominion (Virginia) prior to the war. The soldier remembered the slow lifestyle and antiquated ways of Virginians before the war. George Cary wrote:

“They loved the old because it was old, and disliked the new because it was new; for newness and rawness were well-neigh the same in their eyes.”

Well stated from a country gentleman, the likes of which no longer draws breath. The advances of the twentieth century would bring the south out of its agrarian past and into the technocracy we live under today. The old is no longer revered, but is instead replaced at a rate that is exponentially increasing.

Last week, I looked at a country property being sold to settle an estate. The acreage is replete with outbuildings of one kind and another. They’re not the cookie cutter pole barns of my generation. They are hand crafted country buildings built by hand and customized by the country gentleman that constructed them: a tool shed, a meat house, a barn. Most importantly, there is a picnic shelter where the family would gather on a hot summer day. Each building has a homemade fixture of some sort. Nothing was wasted. Every piece of scrap was utilized in some way. A radiator fan serves as a windmill atop of one building below a hand crafted weather vane. In the basement there are shelves everywhere for the canned goods that came from the garden each year. Clotheslines hang from the ceiling. There is an electric dryer hookup, but I doubt it was used much. The house is simple, but adequate. I often ponder the fact that as our families have gotten smaller, the houses have gotten bigger. A family of five once would happily occupy one thousand square feet. The parents would live there for their entire life, cooking, cleaning, canning, and growing old.

There was a time when country people spent our lives at home; not at soccer tournaments and 5k’s. We spent them together with family around the barbeque pit. Hot summer days were spent hoeing and sweating. Now, the countryside is dotted with brick ranch homes with two car garages. Most of their inhabitants don’t can, or use clotheslines. Glyphosate does most of our hoeing for us. People scurry back and forth to city jobs of one kind or another. Oh, there are outliers, but most of the country dwellers are just city folks that live a little farther out. The houses are all equipped with Wi-Fi and satellite dishes. The yards are neatly kept with giant lawnmowers. There are no meat houses, or chicken houses, or out houses. We’ve grown past all that. Our lifestyle is little different from our city brethren. But as I surveyed the property that first time the other day, I found myself envious of the life my predecessors lived. In my busy day, I pondered what it would be like to sit there, under the shade of the pecan tree and break a bushel of green beans in the heat of the afternoon. My days are consumed with worries, much as theirs were. They worried about feeding the family, and not freezing to death in the winter. Somehow, those seem like nobler worries than the ones that preoccupy me most days. Time marches on though. We’re all city folks now.

Moves and Counter-moves

Race riots, constitutional crisis, and a Cosby scandal; news junkies certainly have had plenty to read the last couple of weeks. Each story seems to be more outrageous than the one before, and it’s likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The moves and counter-moves in culture and politics have been very violent of late. Historically when this happens things must get a lot worse before they get better. It’s always darkest before the dawn, and we’re just witnessing the evening hours of this humankind super cycle. The dark ages started in much the same way. Humanity is always at its peak of knowledge before it plunges back into the dark.
Audacity is a word that got thrown around quite a bit a few years ago thanks to somebody’s book. Plenty of people have been taking audacious action lately, but brazen is the word that might describe it better. Impudence and brazenness are what we see more than anything else these days in politics and pop culture. It doesn’t matter which side you take, respect is in short supply everywhere. A certain Secretary of State was quoted a while back speaking about foreign policy and military intervention. “We came, we saw, he died,” she said of a foreign dictator. That has to be one of the most brazenly unthinking remarks I’ve heard from a national leader ever. Julius Caesar doesn’t represent the type of leader I want for my Republic. His appearance in history marked the end of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Empire. It’s ironic to see a liberal icon like Hillary Clinton quoting Caesar and espousing American Imperialism. For years I’ve listened to her people talk about the invalidity of foreign wars. Now that the war machine is in their control, there are all sorts of hotspots where they’d like to go, and see, and conquer. Veni, vidi, vici.
“You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists,” is another quote that makes a person feel uneasy. When that one was uttered many years ago, it was at a time when people were scared and needed reassurance. It only took about a decade to get from that type of absolute statement to veni, vidi, vici. It makes you wonder what is coming in the next decade. You couldn’t pick two politicians that have opposed each other more than W. and Hillary, but it certainly seems that they’re teammates more than enemies. They’re from the same generation after all. It’s a bit cliché to blame the generation ahead of you for making a mess of the world, but it’s easy to see why people have always done it. Somebody made the mess. Mankind has always had a way of blaming somebody else for their problems. It usually takes a lifetime to seize the reins of power, so the long toothed are the easiest ones to blame for whatever is going wrong in the world. Right now, the people in power were part of the 1960’s counter-culture. This makes them particularly suspect. For the first time in American history we have unabashed dope fiends and free lovers in charge, and we are reaping the whirlwind. Who knows where their experimentation will end, but it should be an exciting ride.
These audacious radicals that currently steer policy didn’t seize power in a vacuum. The people who know better have allowed it to happen due to our apathy and indifference. We got comfortable in our lives, turned on the TV, wasted time on the internet and tuned out on the things that matter. That’s how it’s always been. If mankind isn’t singularly focused on survival we get into all sorts of trouble. I’ve been thinking a lot about Dickens this week. It certainly is the best of times and the worst of times. Even some of the poorest among us in this country enjoy the highest standard of living that humankind has ever known. Every convenience is at our fingertips. Survival is almost assured for those who want to stick around. With all that going for us, we’re surrounded by depravity, war, and a culture that is obsessed with death. It is the best time to be alive in history, and yet most of the time we’re planning a funeral for the human race.
As the holidays bear down on us this year, I am thankful to be alive and well. I am blessed with a wonderful family, a thriving business, and more friends than I ever hoped to have. I hope that you’ll take time in the coming weeks to celebrate the life that you have. Turn off the news and focus on the good things for a few minutes. The wolf is always at the door. Keep an eye on him, but don’t invite him into your house (or your heart). Remember the adage, “This too shall pass.”