I am a MORON!
…and I am proud to be!
Why? Because I oppose war.
Two letters in the Lufkin Daily News recently caught my attention. The first, by a guy named Scot Skipper, was one I could agree with, mostly. He wrote about the need to honor soldiers who gave their best efforts for the nation. I can go with that. He also wrote that the way Vietnam Vets were treated was horrible. I agree.
But then he blew it.
Skipper wrote this: “I saw a T-shirt today which said, ‘I’m opposed to the next war.’ What a moron.” He followed up with this: “What if Iran nuked us, would you still be opposed?”
Of course I would. Buddha said you can’t get rid of hate with more hate.
Then there was the letter by a guy named Larry Winthrop. Winthrop took issue with the numbers I gave in the last letter to the editor. “Only 100,000” have died in the war, he said. ONLY?! Then he spends a long time telling the wonderful happenings in Iraq and how we have helped rebuild and restore the country. All this restoration was because of what? Maybe that little war? And I’m a moron?
(See the Letter to the Lufkin Daily News updates at right, dated 060109.)
There are dozens of countries that need all the wonderful assistance America is giving Iraq now that we’ve killed off or wounded half a million of their citizens and destroyed their nation. How many more would we have been able to help around the world if we’d put the war machine money into that?
The problem is that the numbers are abstract. The numbers do not represent real flesh and blood people in our head. Characters in the movie we just watched are more real than the REAL DEAD PEOPLE in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today there’s a news story about an airliner that crashed over the Atlantic. People are going to say, “how horrible!” The number: 228 passengers. Probably all dead. The paper carried a photo of a car crash recently. Two people died, two children badly injured. Even those we do not feel.
Once I was driving through east Dallas, west bound on I35. It was just after dark. I was in a big truck, headed to the terminal. The traffic slowed. I heard over the CB… “It’s a BODY! Oh my GOD it’s PART of a body!” Along with all the other vehicles I drove past and OVER parts of a person. I felt sickly from the idea but did not weep for the dead person.
Another time I was in the big truck I was southbound on the interstate out of Atlanta, Georgia. I came over a hill and saw a tank truck jack-knifed, a car upside down, and several bodies lying in the highway in the north-bound lane. My thoughts were more on the backed-up traffic than on the dead people on the road.
Tragedy isn’t tragedy to us until it comes close to home. I watched part of the video of the Iraqi massacre (see previous post) with horror but did not cry until I equated the dead boys with my son.
How do we respond when we don’t “feel” bad? By choice. We know what is right and wrong. We understand in our heart and head what is right and wrong. Just because we are not sensitive does not mean we should not act like we care. I DO care. I don’t always FEEL like I care. Americans these days, especially, are insensitive. We see tragedy on TV and in the movies. We watch “reality” shows where real people are really hurt or killed. The more we watch the less we care the more we watch. I am constantly disgusted at what the networks put on TV for entertainment.
Every day that passes I want to punch myself in the nose. I sat in classes and watched films showing bodies of innocent people killed in war being bulldozed into trenches. As a war historian I have seen far more of what war does than most. (No, I didn’t go. I should have. Maybe if I had gone to Vietnam I would have become a peace activist sooner and done something good instead of all the bad I’ve done. By the time I was old enough to put on a uniform the war ended.) I should have cared. I didn’t. I gloried in war. I am so ashamed.
If I believed in a god I would beg for forgiveness. I was such a fool. It’s ironic I had to loose my faith to gain compassion. There’s something wrong about that picture. Hmm.
Whatever the case, if anyone wants to call me a moron because I weep (see last post) over dead children go right ahead, be my guest. I’ll order the t-shirt and wear it with pride. If learning how to care, if becoming a real human being sensitive to the suffering of other human beings makes me a moron then I’m very happy to be a moron. How much better would our world be if there were a lot more morons and a lot fewer war-mongering “sane” people.
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