Sunday, September 13, 2009

We have met the enemy and he is us

"We have met the enemy and he is us" is the title of a 1950's comic book by Walt Kelly. Pogo was a conscientious possum filled with good will. Always (in a child-like manner) searching for truth.Nothing seems more appropriate this morning than that statement.

Yesterday, September 12, 2009, eight years and one day after terrorist flew planes into the World Trade Center buildings in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, there was a gathering of several thousand people on the National Mall.

They were not there in remembrance of the 911 victims, nor the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our freedoms. They did not honor our nation or it's people.

These American citizens gathered together out of a common fear of government. At the event, wild conspiracies were shouted along with the words, "Liar", "Hitler" and "Nigger".

Fear, anger, jealously, maliciousness, idolatry, greed, selfishness, stubbornness and hate - these were their motives.

The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of hearts, there remains… an un-uprooted small corner of evil.

[Gulag Archipelago, vol. 2, "The Ascent"]

The believer says we are all under God's eye and has commanded us to be of one mind and one heart. The believer also says Christ is the King of Peace.

As an agnostic, I sometimes wonder what God must think of us. As the richest nation on Earth we worry about secret military camps and birth certificates - We spend a whole day raising a fist that an illegal immigrant might get healthcare and never notice that 30,000 children died yesterday or starvation and disease.

I would revise Pogo's line in this way. "We have met the damned and God has damned us."

This post was inspired by a talk given by Jim Forest


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