Looking in the Evil Mirror

I got something in the mail the other day about a speech by Newt Gingrinch about how serious the threat of terrorism is. The sender figured that since I don’t support the war I would react negatively to what Newt was saying. But I didn’t really. Newt was mostly right. Its a serious problem and one that’s not going to go away easily. There are some seriously evil people in this world. Our problems are mostly though a result of how we are chosing to deal with them.

Dealing with evil people is a hard problem, I’ve written about this before but I want to make a slightly different point. For some people, like the current US administration, Evil people are really their only hope. Without some greater evil to point to they would be exposed as inept and wicked themselves. Bokonon covers this well in one of my favorite books:

“Papa” Monzano, he’s so very bad
But without bad “Papa” I would be so sad;
Because without “Papa’s” badness,
Tell me, if you would,
How could wicked old Bokonon
Ever, ever look good?

The Pro-War faction in this country seems to think their best line of rhetoric is to keep reminding us all how bad the bad guys are. The things Bush and Cheney are doing are ok in thier view, because they are not as bad as Saddam or Osama. We are in fact asked to support thier badness since it is some kind of axiom that Bad people can only be stopped breaking a few rules and getting a little dirty ourselves.

If you don’t support the War then their view is that you probably think Osama is a nice guy who’s a just misunderstood. Their viewpoint assumes that the only way forward is to maintain our resolve [by which they really mean hatred] to continue this fight without ever stopping to ask if fighting is the right action in every case. Fighting keeps them in charge and doesn’t allow for questions. Fighting means that dissent becomes “doing the will of the enemy”.

The Administration needs the Terrorists as much as they need the Evangelicals. By constantly referring to the Evil enemy they reflect criticism of themselves. What I find the hardest to swallow is just how far they can get away with this. The Soviet Union the former leading Big Bad Guy that we compared ourselves too fell 10 years before 9/11 without warrantless wiretaps or the Unitary Executive or Guantanamo. Somehow this Superpower with 1000s of nuclear missles and the highest technology was unable to cause us to loose our rights and freedoms to the same degree that a small group of zealots have been able to do.

Our “bomb people into democracy” plan is not only disingenuous, it denies the reality that the world is more complicated than an episode of 24 would make it seem and that history did not begin on 9/11. But worst of all it makes a mockery of our role as a leader of the world. When the most powerful country in the history of the world leads with its fist what kind of leadership is that? What makes us think this is creating a better world when all the evidence is showing otherwise. We are simply stirring up more conflict in a region of the world which already has more than its share and we seem to be willing to only talk with countries who have no power to help put things back together again.

Another of my favorite books takes a different approach.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And so its back to Bokonon then for the corollary:

So I said good-bye to government,
And I gave my reason:
That a really good religion
Is a form of treason.






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