One time a few years back in West Africa we got caught in a bit of a fire fight. These very unsophisticated-looking, unsmiling fellows were shooting and throwing pointy things at us. And it was no use trying to convince them that it wasn’t me! I didn’t touch your sister! Or your wife!
And especially your goat!
Hmm… Okay, so I got two out of three.
Needless to say I am not your epitome of courage. Nor bravery. Funny thing though, you can only be brave when you are afraid. You can’t have fear without hope.
Actually I was too scared to be fearful. Doesn’t mean I didn’t oversupply my BVD’s. My lower intestines were shrieking like that abominable nightmare where all my exes move back from Texas – unbranded!
Crouching beside me on that humid, African, late afternoon was this wiry, self-assured, battle-tested British bloke. He took a sanguine sniff of me, burped a loaded smirk and offered this in comfort: “Fear is good,” he said, a tad amused. “It means the worst hasn’t happened yet.”
And the truth is: In combat, in life, in the dark, anywhere and at any time the secret is to simply conquer our fears. Every day, another fear. And what we reap is the wisdom that: Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood. And the more we understand the less we have to fear.
The trouble is, we are nothing but pusillanimous panderers of self perpetuating prevarications. That is: We understand little. Tolerate less. And remember hardly anything at all. We hear too soon, and listen too late:
The “Maine” has already been sunk… And by whom..? you warily wonder and forsake.
Who fired at whom in the Gulf of Tonkin…? My-my-my, such another grand lie! And 58,000 Americans plus 1 million Vietnamese die.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction are manifesting! Whoops…Were you just jesting..? Recklessly redirecting our investing?
By the time we really investigate we have already been bought, sold and divested of what we once nobly aspired.
So let me remind you in this emotional whirlpool of the Newtown slaughter of the innocent lambs; of the misplaced sense of noble honor and revenge perpetuated by the ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ movie of hunting down Osama bin Laden; of Iran, Syria and the never ending Mideast; our open-ended fiscal crises; healthcare despair; Afghanistan; Taliban; bridges to nowhere; unemployment; the richer rich, the poorer poor… and all the more.
Fear rules. Those who rule make the rest of us fear. And those who can make you believe their absurdities can make you commit their atrocities.
Indeed, fear makes strangers of people who otherwise would be friends. And the more you can increase fear of anything and everything — of drugs, guns, immigrants, foreigners, homo-sapiens, gods, devils, old age, sickness and even welfare mothers — the more you control all the people.
As always, the enemy of my enemy is my ‘friendly fire.’
It’s simple. And it works. It has always worked on us fools who are too fearful to see things for what they are. We frightfully deny the truth rather than brave the hard cold facts. We fail to admit that everyone has a self-serving agenda, everyone lies and politicians don’t even have to move their lips.
Just as the monstrous mind of Hitler penned in Mein Kampf: It is much easier to get the broad masses to believe a big lie than a little one. And as Jefferson warned: When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Fear rules morning, noon and long past midnight. It’s how religion works; insurance is sold, and Big Pharma markets. All the while the marketers seduce and shiver our craven bones with: Would you want your loved ones to be without the security and protection of…?
I can’t fight all these battles. It’s too much fog. It’s like trying to keep a nymphomaniac virtuous. You have a better chance of taming the wind with your fists.
But what I ‘can’ fight, scream and stamp my feet about are the lies my Uncle Sam tells me. They are repetitive and redundant. The government boys don’t even have to make up new mendacities anymore… They merely rework the old saws…because they worked so well before…because we are forever doomed to forget our history…because our memories are shorter than our wee-willy-winkies.
They tell us the same yellow deceits that leapt us into the Spanish American War…The Vietnam War…The Iraqi War…The unconstitutional ‘Un’Patriot Act… And anything they want to sell us… Cloaked in patriotism — that last refuge of the scoundrel. They reassure us of good weather, good health and good fortune. And the only good these greedy Babbitts ever do is good for nothing – except themselves, and the people who buy them.
What I don’t appreciate is my government telling me you can’t be a little pregnant if the damn rabbit don’t die. Either we are or we aren’t. Either we are a righteous country or we aren’t. Either we are noble or we aren’t. Either we are moral or we aren’t. There are no equivocations. There are no moral exceptions. Either you are pregnant or you ain’t!
We have the same good DNA and bad DNA as people everywhere. Good deeds don’t compensate for bad deeds. And given the chance we’ll do wrong.
We ain’t no better or worse than the beast or the burden. The truth is irrelevant. All that matters is what people are willing to believe. And what they are led to believe through the dogma of fear and deceit.
On the one hand we want to believe we’re a righteous country. That it is for a noble cause that we torture ‘bad guys’ because everyone breaks towards the truth… and that our drones mistakenly kill ‘persons of interest’ even if they are young women and children.
To be as honest and straightforward as my cultural inculcation allows: I don’t mind killing – at all! In fact, put me in coach, I wanna shoot my dinner! Eat it severely wounded, but not quite dead.
But torture is wrong.
I don’t mind making mistakes. Asking for understanding. Even forgiveness.
But lying, cheating and stealing are sins! It isn’t a disease it’s a choice, a dishonor, and indignity. If Lance Armstrong knowingly cheated to win fame, glory and lucre then what was the point if you can’t deceive yourself, and live in the same house.
It ain’t complicated. The trouble is we are all the same all the world over. Liars, cheaters, thieves, sinners, coveting the neighbor’s wife, his ass and his gold.
The only thing that differentiates us is power. And power wields fear. And that fear exerts might. Unfortunately, might doesn’t make right.
Right makes might.
I don’t want a bunch of fascists and boy scouts and other thugs beating me with what they invoke is good for me. I don’t want them usurping my power, taking away my rights and means to protect myself, my family and my country from evil. Especially their evil.
I want the government to stay out of my bedroom and do the things they are supposed to be doing – like taking care of our highways and byways, the military and such. Not to waste our money on the fools of other countries, who, in time, will see their folly, shed their despots and spill their own blood. And become as miserable as us.
I want the government to first help make us better. Because that will make the world better. And then we’ll all have nothing to fear…
Hey, as Babe Ruth once burped: Never let the fear of striking out hold you back…
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…