Friday, July 8, 2016

What Does War Look Like?



Today, July 8th 2016, we wake to the news from Dallas.  Snipers have executed at least four five officers and wounded at least seven others.  In the days prior to last night’s shootings we learned of the events in Louisiana, and Minnesota where two black men were shot and killed by the police.  In all three cases the outside interests have rallied their social forces and condemned the events prior to a full investigation.  But then again we no longer need full investigations do we?  As we’ve seen in recent days some people are above the law. 
  Take a moment and consider this question, what does war look like?  I think it looks like today!



We could talk in the abstract and say there were similar events in Boston when the colonists chaffed and fought against the British Army prior to the revolution.  We can speculate that in the opening days of our Civil War we saw similar violence as the Southern separatists and the Union authorities clashed, but we don’t need to do that.  We can look at the Israeli/Palestine conflicts of our day and see where we are headed.

     This, is what war looks like.  Innocents placed in the line of fire, authorities attacked without provocation, the authority of the government challenged at every turn.


What has separated us from the other nations was our faith in some abstract concept known as the “Rule of Law.”  The idea that no one, not even the President, was above the law and those laws would be applied fairly and universally to all our citizens.  For the black and minority communities that myth was dispelled a long time ago, for the rest of us it is dissolving before our eyes.

When we look to the prisons and see the huge disparity between black and white inmates, when we look to the major cities and see the minority crime rates and violence, when we look to our politicians and see the unprosecuted corruption, when we tolerate terrorism because it suits our political agenda, and when we look to the way we crucify some to appease others we all know the law is not fair and evenly applied.  As I watch the media -- I find myself standing in the square, looking up to Pontius Pilot, listening to the crowd call for the release of Barabbas.

So this is what war looks like as it starts here at home.

Could we have prevented it?  Yes of course we could have, but long ago we sacrificed our civility and the opportunity to shape the society.  We’ve encouraged violence in our youth, we’ve created an entertainment industry filled with the glory of violence. We have pitted ourselves against others in a life-or-death struggle for the political power of the nation.  We have armed our police with all the weapons of the military, and we have created a mindset within many departments that they are the centurions of the state and must protect the state, not the individual.


Finally, too many of us believe our political party of choice is never wrong and the opposition is to be reviled as stupid, ignorant, racist, bigots who care more about themselves than the common good.


Can we stop it?  That is, to use an old clich√©, the 64 thousand dollar question.

1 comment:

W.B. Picklesworth said...

The unraveling has seemed slower than expected these past years. There have been moments when reality seemed ready to burst in and say, "Haven't you all read The Gods of the Copybook Headings?" But it's always settled back down. Perhaps it will be the same this time too. Maybe.

But even if the calm comes I will have no faith that this is anything more than a pause. There is too much rot, too much anger, too many lies, too much debt. And we have too little unity, too little confidence in principle, too little future vision based on past experience. Are there any grounds for optimism for America? The one that I see is the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Hard times.

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