Saturday, June 3, 2017

What is My Obligation?

I’ve got a question, unfortunately I don’t have an answer.

What is my obligation to my fellow man?  It is a question I wrestle with each and every day.  I look around in hopes of finding an answer and yet I find more to question than to hold as true.  Forgive my political incorrectness, but I don’t feel like playing the game of gender neutral terminology as I wrestle with this.  If that offends you, you may leave now and think what you will of me.

I used to believe my obligation was to live my life quietly, defend the nation, support my comrades to the best of my ability, love my family, and when possible give to the help those less fortunate than myself.  Now I am not sure that is enough, or even appropriate, as I see society devolve into anarchy driven by those who would destroy it for some reason.

This century has not begun well, just as the last century did not end well.  The 20th Century will be forever known as the century of war, as we spent almost all the years in conflict, both hot and cold.  We had two wars that were so vast they were called World Wars, we had a few dozen small wars, a war between Russia and Japan, we (the US) sent Marines to Central America for the bananas, the Colonial powers in Africa had their hands full of rebellion, we had surrogate ideological wars in Korea and Vietnam, and of course the Islamic/Jewish conflicts were in all the papers.

So far in this century the US has been at war since 2001, and it doesn’t seem likely we will be ending that anytime soon.  This despite our nation electing a President whose promise to end the war led to his winning a Nobel prize for Peace.  The middle-east is still aflame, Russia is pushing to get its old empire back, and bands of terrorists control significant chunks of Africa.  Peace does not look to be on the horizon.

Since the 1960s, we have seen the erosion of respect and dialogue regarding ideas.  The pace of this erosion seems to be increasing on a daily basis.  Today, we are at the point were everyone is on one side or another and there is no room for understanding or tolerance of those who don’t fall clearly within your frame of reference.

The current outrages are only a simple extension of the hatred and violence I first saw as a teenager during the “age of Aquarius” when free love and peace was supposed to trump all the hatred in the world.  Somehow all those intellectuals who were suggesting we love one another were busy planting bombs, and calling the young men who were drafted to fight our war in Vietnam “baby killers” and no one called them on that hypocrisy.  The press was busy condemning those who would question their indignation and legitimacy, the school administrators were busy empathizing with their fears and demands.

What I don’t recall learning in those formative years was that the bounty of America came from the government, in fact, I believe I was taught the bounty came from the American capitalists and farmers who created innovations that led to increases in productivity allowing us to feed the world.  Still, I felt it my obligation to pay back my country for the bounty it provided.  The fact service was an opportunity to expand my limited horizon was a bonus.

Well, in the forty-five years since I first saw the hatred of those who spoke of love, we have seen our society sink deeper into the abyss where individual conduct is forgiven of those whose politics reflect the approved positions.  The entertainment and educational institutions have become the new stewards of our moral code, rejecting the standards of our earlier history.  Many churches have embraced these new codes and now advocate for their legitimacy.  They never asked my opinion before they were approved as being the right thing, they were just handed down, much like Moses bringing the tablets down from the mountain, yet there was no mountain, just a bunch of writers in the entertainment industry who pushed their agenda with a willing workforce, and corporations providing the financial resources.  What is my obligation to these new positions, how do I decide what is right, moral, and just? 

{To be continued}

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