Friday, December 9, 2016

History’s Question

Why? Why did you do that?

It’s revolting that the market place of ideas is so polluted by visceral knee jerk reactions to what one person ‘thinks’ another person is saying without even bothering to listen. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, to understand what they are saying the way they understand it, and to critique it politely. Some might think me naïve but there’s a perfectly good reason I try not to accept stereotypes for groups of people, like Trump supporters, and even individuals without solid evidence. Well, it’s bigoted, for starters. Taking an entire group of people and painting them in broad strokes is just that. We on the left may think we are immune to that sort of Colonial, Patriarchal, White Man's Burden nonsense that should have been left in the trash heap of history.

But that’s the problem. History has a habit of putting down roots and regrowing closer to home where it looks refreshing and new. There’s a slippery slope from condemning today’s heretic to committing the next holocaust. I paraphrased a quote the other day: “God save us from a confident man.” I was paraphrasing Proverbs 14:16 “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” They are the people who repeat history, they who are sure of themselves. They’re the Good Guys! People who are outraged at the bigotry and ignorance around them and who know Oh, so much better. Those are the people who become the next Nazis. The next Crusaders. The next Reign of Terror. No evil person wakes up one day and says, Today I will be evil.

We should treat others with respect and acceptance, not because we are better but because we know we could all too easily become much worse. If I was a spiritual person I’d say it was the law of Karma. You become what you are most passionate about. If your greatest passion is love, you become what you love. And if it is hate…?

There’s a quote from Doctor Who. A good man needs no rules. Now’s not the time to find out why I have so many.

I read things about the rise of the Nazis in Germany. People ask, How could the German people have let that happen? I wonder. Fifty years from now will people look back at the first few decades of the twenty-first century and ask the same thing? How could the North American people have allowed that to happen? The inhabitants of the former United States Empire? 

The casualties of the Neocon, nee Nazi, wars are not yet as high as their predecessors, but the effects are much more widespread on a global scale. And we’ve been just watching it, dumbstruck, for fifteen years. How is that possible? The “Trump” revolution is not so much a revolution as one more step along the way. How could we have let that happen?

What do we answer? History’s waiting.

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