Sunday, March 24, 2013

Historical Judgments: Part 3

#2 When encouraged to do your duty, to honor and support a war by the government...when elected officials beat the fervent drum of necessity...when the general populace becomes excited by war fever/fervor or are scared into genuine fear by the powers that be,
then STOP!

Step away from the emotional political juggernaut. Take time to be holy, passionate,and prayerful, seeking God's guidance in the witness of Jesus the Messiah, the Chosen One, the leader who said to love your enemies(in his case, the Roman soldiers who tortured and crucified him)!

Glance backward to the First Gulf War, August 2, 1990. There was no question that the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. Even many Arabs thought so, only the most biased not.

However, the fever pitch for war, the excitement slew a whole nation, ours--the United States. Very few Americans stood up against this irrational nationalism.

Picture this large gym at Perris High School filled with staff and students and classified help--everyone was there. Our school's cheer leaders sang and shouted and pranced, "We're NUMBER #1! We're NUMBER #1!" But this wasn't a huge rally for our football team to win in a game against our cross county rivals.

No! This wasn't a sports pep rally, but rather a political, nationalistic drumming for war! At the time I was teaching high school literature and writing. I admit I, too, felt judgment against Iraq, I, too, experienced the fever of war excitement, but was totally shocked when young, fairly innocent, high school cheerleaders and a couple of thousand individuals gloried in war, while our hundreds of bombs 'reigned down' on many, many Iraqis.

I suppose theoretically I could have understood the United States taking out Saddam Hussein--a murderer if there ever was one (though Jesus died for him too). Those who take the sword shall die by the sword. That's in Bible--when humans choose violence--to violate others, they will eventually reap what they have sown.

But for American adults, teachers no less, to encourage so many teens to turn a war into a game and a rally, how tragic, how absurd. Where was the ol' soldier Vonnegut when we needed him?

Right then, while all around me hundreds of Americans were filled with zest and loud happy singing, thousands of human beings in Iraq were being turned into charred things, what American soldiers called "crispies." How morally sick.

And no doubt thousands of high schools across our nation were having similar patriotic rallies.
Yet God loves every Iraqi as much as God does Americans. In fact, think of the great slogan--"God bless the whole world, no exceptions!" Many Iraqis were no more evil than many Americans.

Yet our high school, our city, was turning their annihilation via "shock and awe" weapons into a sport! What a travesty of Life and Truth.

How hellish. That day when it comes back to mind still gives me spiritual guilt and shame. At the time, I got a deep inner nudge to go out onto the gym floor and speak truth from the God of all compassion to all these misguided humans.

But I kept resisting the motion of the Spirit of God. I was chicken, and besides, what might happen to my teaching position/contract if I stood up and opposed this rally, even if I spoke in a gentle tone?

Finally, several days later, one of our teaching staff called a meeting for adults to speak up about the war, but only 3 or 4 teachers showed up. Even "liberal" teachers supported the war (another repeat of so many hundreds of wars in the past: no nation that goes to war ever thinks it is in the wrong).

Hope to God that next time Americans are faced with this, they will stop, step back, and think again, and pray.

Nope. Didn't happen. But instead the next time, the United States was the first-strike aggressor...

Hopefully, some day we will learn to make wise historical decisions when the drums of war are thundered and nations let lose the vicious dogs of war in the name of God, truth, and justice.

That's an historical judgment.

Let's turn from the gods of war to the Prince of Peace.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


Katya said...

Hi Daniel,
Your post made me think (oh-oh:)) yet again on the war situation... Quite a few people I know think it "unpatriotic" to not support our government in the war... I think patriotism is something quite different - but I digress... Why is our government so eager to promote war, and why are the people seem so eager to support it? I think the government is simply trying to divert our attention from internal problems:"Yes, there's unemployment here, but look, over there people are dying and getting blown up, we are still #1!" And the people... There has not been a war on the American soil for...a very long time. I believe the last war was the Civil war (between North and South)? Perhaps we have forgotten the horrors - the real horrors of war, of fear and terror of invasion. We have become too comfortable... In a sense, when we promote war, we are like that teenager at the table who talks about adult problems without any actual experience to back it up. I remember my grandparents talking about politics and repeating to each other, "As long as there is no more war..." They lived through it, and they did not wish to repeat it. I hope it never happens here, but maybe it takes real experience to stop the government and the people "drumming up" this issue. Hope you are well. )) Katya

Daniel Wilcox said...

Hi Katya5,

Thanks for stopping by and reading on such a tragic subject.

Yes, I agree; it does seem that every generation forgets the horror of war, and repeats the past. Phillip Caputo, a writer who served during the Vietnam War thinks that this is innate in humankind, the lure of war. He says every generation has to learn the horror anew.

I hope not.

Hope you are having a good new year.