Sacrifice In the Face of Evil
[Editors Note- Dave wrote this while trying to make breakfast for Ben. I decided not to edit it, because I think that it captures a passion that is important, even if it is a little roughly written and he makes a few grammatical errors.]
I guess those Japanese are also Xenophobic racists, given that they too recognize the strategic threat of Communist China. Oddly enough, Caller Alex seems to have forgotten what the Chinese did in 1950. But why is that any surprise?
I got an eMail after the show last from Bill who shares my strategic concerns about the ABC’s on Saipan. But he also made a point which I have tied to elucidate but perhaps haven’t been able to really get across. That is simply this, our generation – corporately – of Americans has never faced a world danger that required actual sacrifice on our part.
When I awoke on 9-11, my first thought was, “We are under attack.” In 1990 I knew we were going to war. But both cases, the ToTaL numbers of Americans involved was a mere fraction of a percentage point. We watched “the war” on TV screens and later computers with the connectivity of a video game, without ever seeing the real destruction or feeling the overpressure of an explosion. We never felt the cold sweat of fear combined with courage, never felt the sting of shrapnel, never held the hand of dying compatriot.
We were told to keep shopping. Our economy, propped up by the Fed by “quantitative easing”, we were told, was the most important thing. We never felt the pain of sacrifice as we shifted our economy to a war footing, we were never told, “save” so that our boys in harms way can have more of this to fight. Instead we were told to keep on spending and shopping while our nation borrowed billions to fund our fight – much of that from who? That’s right, the Communist Chinese.
Seventy years ago, our grandparents and great grandparents – who had already dealt with the Great Depression – were asked to drive less, eat less, wear longer, save more, and even contribute financially, in addition to being asked for their sons and brothers and fathers to go and carry the fight.
We are told, go shopping.
Santayana said that those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. We see the world today and think about how wonderful things are. Our Olympic commentators refer to Soviet Styled leaders as “peacemakers,” as did the New York papers in 1937. The idea that an Asian nation with visions of regional domination could be our technical match is a cultural anathema to us, just like it was in 1940.
The Cold War taught us to live in fear, and in the belief that at any moment government intervention into liberty might be necessary to “protect us.” As if the very threat they created in our minds and warned us to fear above all else – nuclear annihilation – could be stopped by the government.
We were disconnected from the idea of actual sacrifice for the national ends. We sent boys to fight in Vietnam, but we were never asked to give up anything – except our sons.
Until we find ourselves in a world where many people are completely disconnected from the idea of a world threat. After all, they reason, none of this stuff really effected me personally. Even comedian Lewis Black cogently points out that for many Americans our real reaction to 9-11 was “well, there goes this weekend.”
As long as people like Alex refuse to recognize the world is a dangerous place, as long as they refuse to learn from history, the attitude as a nation will be, there is no evil because it’s just some bogeyman you made up to try and scare us.
In 1914, the “War to End All Wars” started because a man angry over a forced annexation with which he and his city disagreed shot a despised by his own family dolt of a crown prince in a backwater city in the Balkans. Nobody – I mean NOBODY believed that what happened next would happen. Because they chose to believe that the world was great and the threat was non-existent, made up. Who would ever fight over such a thing as this?
History repeated itself again. We were again asked to sacrifice. My own grandfather’s and father’s tales of the things they were asked to do have stayed with me for my life.
We have made no national effort to win today’s conflicts. Yes, the Military has performed brilliantly handcuffed (as always) by occasionally competent civilian leadership setting the strategy. But We the People have done nothing whatsoever to fight or win these wars. We see those who have lost sons and daughters and husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, as something special, something to bring an extra lump to our throat, as we flip through the channels and plan for our weekend outings which are never sacrificed, never set aside.
Because that would mean we accept and acknowledge that evil in this world seeks our destruction.
Even when nature attacks us, we refuse to sacrifice. We are told it is a severe drought. Just watch your own water usage, then look around and see what is happening. Sure, maybe a lawn or two is brown, but is there any actual sacrifice going on?
And there won’t be. Not until we are forced by circumstances or by evil. For people like Caller Alex, it will be too late.
For those who resonate understanding, it will be hard. Harder than ANYTHING we – as this generation – have ever done before.
G-d help us.