Some people objected to the title of my last diary, USA: A Giant Juggernaut of Greed and Evil. I knew many would dislike that choice of titles or take offense. Though it is admittedly hyperbole, hyperbole has its purposes. I think the title was appropriately provocative, perhaps a bit shocking, but not entirely untrue. And that was the point.
We're not all evil of course. Many of us are against the present madness in all its many forms. Some of us have been fighting the evils done in our names for a lifetime. Not everyone is directly or equally culpable. But we sleep on for the most part. Most people don't want to know. Few wish to rise to the challenge of speaking out against the powers-that-be and their ongoing rape of the planet and humanity. It's difficult, disturbing and no one listens when you do. Why raise your head when there is so much lopping going on?
The defensiveness in the reactions of some to my last diary was predictable. It's common for people to be resistant to ugly truths about our officially great nation, because we've all been conditioned to reject them. Many rejected my diary on the basis of the title alone, but failed utterly to rebut the message or refute a single fact. The fact is, what we've done and continue to do is ugly. The truth hurts, and all too often the plainest of truths can't penetrate the conditioning and propaganda that has taken hold in a fellow citizen. We all know these guys, my country right or wrong. Most Americans are like that to some extent. Some more than others of course. To some, we will always be 'awesome,' no matter what we actually do.
But if we catch our nation not being 'awesome,' should we say something?
When your nation fights wars of choice for crass material gain, tortures helpless prisoners, officially excuses egregious violations of both national and international law, acquits without charge or trial financial thieves and brigands and rewards rather than punishes war criminals in the leadership such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheny, et al, refuses to do anything meaningful about the very real existential threat of climate change, resource depletion, and on and on, do you speak up or no?
One wag in the comment thread to my last diary observed how horrible it must be for me to go through life so 'butt-hurt' over the way the world works. I wonder if he'd say the same thing to Native Americans about genocide, or to African Americans about slavery or racism, to South Africans about apartheid, to Jews about the holocaust? Buck up babies, it's the way the world works. Why be so butt-hurt?
All of those brave people who have spoken out against evil down through the ages shouldn't have bothered. Elie Wiesel, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Jones and on and on should have just enjoyed a nice warm cup of shut the fuck up.
Who really wants to go down in history as being perfectly okay with 'the way the world works?'
Is that what people should say about Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, Auschwitz? It's human nature – just the way the world works?
When you see evil, do you call it what it is, or do you make excuses, rationalize, distort and deny? Do you avoid the truth at all costs and fill up on the empty calories of mindless propaganda? Do we bathe ourselves in imaginary awesomeness and say, that's just the way the world works? Are we to embrace war, violence, racism, hatred, torture and thievery because that's just the way the world works?
Some think war is a reality that is unchangeable. And looking at history, one might be tempted to believe it, but I refuse to think like that. And even if it is, I will never stop speaking out against it and neither should anyone else. Silence is complicity.
Some don't think there is any such thing as evil, but I think it couldn't be more obvious. Like Dylan said:
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
I don't mean to put such a fine point on the term evil. It has religious connotations that make some folks uncomfortable. But all connotations aside, it seems a perfectly good word to describe the horrible things that people so often do to each other. But whether you call it evil, or great wrong or by any other name, I think most people know it when they see it. And when you do see it, do you speak out against it?
Don't expect to be thanked for it if you do. Just ask Bradley Manning. Ask Julian Assange. Ask John Kiriakou, the only guy to report CIA torture and the only guy to go to prison for it. The world is not kind to truth tellers. We are highly resistant to truth. So we should embrace this because that's the way the world works? No point trying to change it? We do all these terrible things that will have the effect of dooming humanity, big whoop? No reason to try and do anything differently?
Are we to accept that we can do no better than this?
I refuse to believe such a sad evaluation and condemnation of humanity. There are better angels in our nature after all. We will hear them if we just listen.
I love our country for what she was supposed to be. But my eyes are wide open and I find it very hard to love what she has become. We should change it. And in a very big way - or die trying.