Note: This article will seek to traverse sticky questions of: good and evil, the fate of a nation and the soul, and the implications of religion in society. All of which will likely open Pandora's boxes. I will try however to keep this straightforward by focusing on questions and concepts.
I was unsure as to how I would respond, if at all. The story however evoked questions (to me) about the balance between protecting the fate of a nation, and the fate of the soul.
Before I continue, I've made a reputation of crossing the Yellow Line that separates the corporate media and the alternative media (the Internet).
Lately, I've decided to change tones for personal reasons that I won't fully detail. I deleted 47 articles from Bleacher Report because of it. I believe it was necessary to discard those articles, which were experiments in pushing the boundaries.
The articles were necessary for growth as a writer, yet, just as a plant is trimmed after it grows, so too did I need to discard parts of the process. I did however save copies of those articles and are available only by request.
To add another caveat, the corporate media may have flaws, but that should not be interpreted to mean that everything the corporate media does is wrong or useless.
And likewise for the alternative media.
I learn from the corporate media, which may sound like a pejorative, but I think it just is what it is.
I operate on the belief that I will never meet someone that I will agree with 100 percent of the time, and that no one will ever meet someone that they will agree with 100 percent of the time.
But can't we all just agree to that?
As Sigmund Freud once contended, all analysis is merely the product of having too much fecal matter in one's intestine.
In other words, we're all full of crap. I would assume that includes him as well.
I also believe that, even if the corporate media had answers, they would never provide any, because ultimately, the corporate media requires your dependence in order to be profitable.
Thus, it is better instead to develop your own opinions through the willingness to question yourself before you question others.
You already hold the answers that you seek and expect from others.
As Ben Franklin once said, "Love your enemies, for they will tell you your faults."
Questions without Answers
Even I, however, had reservations about sounding petulant towards someone that has dedicated their life to the defense of our country.
Yet, a person that I have defended and have given the benefit of the doubt to, has now pigeonholed me as evil by association? I think, ultimately, that is what bothered me about the comment.
I may wear a Raider hat, but that hardly means that I cannot wear an America hat too.
On the day of the NFL Draft in 2004, I was at a rally in downtown Santa Cruz as a show of support. In fact, my picture appeared on the front page of the local newspaper. I went through hell because of it; people that had been friends would stab me in the back. Eventually I moved.
My view of the War on Terror and the post-9/11 world has long been (to me) a radical concept in, "Just win, baby." I wrote about that topic in an article on September 11, 2009 entitled, "Fear and Loathing after 9/11."
All the details on how and why were of little concern to me, so long as America was victorious.
I cared only about the here and now rather than sacred cows.
I was less concerned with, "moral equivalency," and which side could validly call itself, "freedom fighter." I was more concerned with not dying.
I would rather take reality by the horns and traverse the darkness with the light of God's word than I would to ignorantly live vicariously through a medium, which is why I will challenge any icon (i.e. Tom Brady) and question double-standards, especially those that *could* have a racial component.
In my view, the perception that NFL fans have of the Raiders is the same perception that many people have of the United States, because winning and success will breed hatred and envy.
Eventually, one side will start pigeonholing the other side as evil, even though, we have all fallen from God's glory.
Are we not, then, all evil?
Will not God decide who in their heart and mind sought God and always tried to remain humble and who had succumbed to hubris, on the trek through the constructs (systems) of man?
Both sides view the other side as, "evil." We view radical Islam as evil, while radical Islam views the West (mostly the US) as evil. What's the difference?
Do the definitions of good and evil even matter when someone is trying to kill you? Does the question of who started it truly matter in that case? What good is a social program or justice system when there are people trying to destroy that government? What good is liberty if you're dead, but what good is life if you have no liberty?
Stuck in the middle
The left seems to have a morbid fascination with potentially being martyrs for liberty. The right seems willing to fight for vague platitudes of freedom. All the while, both sides duke it out verbally over which side is more hypocritical.
Someone will invariably quote Ben Franklin, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Interestingly, many who cite that quote often leave out the words, "essential" and "temporary."
They also fail to understand the context of the quote. Franklin was addressing British loyalists and others that did not want war with Great Britain, because the status quo in the Colonies was relatively stable. One of the loyalists included the governor of New Jersey and his own son, William.
Yet, as long as the Colonies were part of Great Britain, the Colonies would always be a pawn and entangled in any wars waged by or against Great Britain.
Great Britain would also maintain economic hegemony through, tariffs, taxation and imposition of any currency in order to finance wars and colonization.
Therefore, the Colonies would, ultimately, have no safety by backing down from Great Britain.
Franklin had his doubts about war and was riddled by the questions and implications that waging war would have on a nation and soul. Yet, ultimately, Franklin did support the Revolutionary War.
There is after all, a time for everything.
Opinions and Schisms
Unfortunately, the sheer act of having an opinion will eventually make you seem evil to someone, and will create schisms.
Many people, typically atheists or leftists, love to believe that the root of all war and division is religion, despite the reality that wars have been fought over interpretations of The Communist Manifesto, amongst other examples. Even Karl Marx once stated, "I am not a Marxist."
Both Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin were atheists, and both of whom killed millions either directly or through depraved indifference.
As well, many self-described "atheists" make the claim that they are God. In that event, you aren't an atheist, you're a pagan. The claim is predicated on the idea that we create God in our image through fiat, yet, they find it impossible to believe that an intelligent being simply called the universe into existence through fiat.
Even now, followers of Chris Hitchens can't seem to agree as to what he means by, "anti-theism."
The prophet of atheism, as well, is none other than John Lennon. Yet, the musician who once stated that The Beatles were, "bigger than Jesus," and wrote the atheist hymn, "Imagine," also wrote a song called, "You Saved My Soul," in which he professed himself to Christ.
Seriously. Google it.
Moreover, the dirty secret about Charles Manson is that he derived his motivations to murder by interpreting Beatles lyrics, an act done by millions of people every day.
As with anything though, the task in life is to use discernment, rather than pigeonhole people as wrong or right, good or evil, sane or crazy.
Another claim that irritates me to no end is that Adolf Hitler was a Christian. If Hitler was a Christian during his reign, why would the Nazi flag use a Buddhist symbol (the Swastika)? Nazism, was basically, a hodge-podge of many religions—except Judaism of course.
Perhaps this next observation is born simply from a coincidence, or perhaps, it was an intuitive leap. The full name of the Nazi Party is, "National Socialist German Worker's Party."
The Prussian born Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848 about the, "class struggle," against the bourgeois.
Otto von Bismarck initiated the policies of Kulterkampf ("culture struggle") between 1871 and 1878 to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church, but also unify Germans through nationalism by waging war against France (Franco-Prussian War).
Adolf Hitler would one day write Mein Kampf ("my struggle") in 1926 and later form the the Nazi Party.
Well, here's the intuitive leap. Hitler crossed nationalism from Bismarck with socialism from Marx and called in national socialism. Hitler then put a face on the, "bourgeois." He called them the Jews. Thus, the Holocaust was nothing more than an intersection of war propaganda and class warfare.
I would also add that many of the people who protected Jewish people during the Second World War were Christians, as reflected by the non-fiction book The Hiding Place about Connie ten Boom (a Protestant); the book makes frequent use of Psalms from King David.
In another example, Schindler's List about Oskar Schindler (a Catholic).
That though is precisely why I believe: Just pick a religion and stick to it, or have none at all. Yet, the only true atheists would believe that they are not a higher power.
At the end of the day, we all live in the same nation.
Sometimes though, a nation must be protected by making ethically ambiguous decisions, even if that nation is imperfect.
Would you rather be dead?
To use a pop-culture analogy: If you've seen the film The Dark Knight (2008), the Batman bends the rules and makes ethically ambiguous decisions in order to stop The Joker.
The battle between "good" and "evil" may be a never-ending story, but at the end of the day, which side would you rather be on?
Perhps, Donald Rumsfeld views the Raiders as evil because, deep down, he sees in himself that which he hates about Al Davis.
That of course, could be the cavalier desire for victory, even if you gotta bend the rules.
Perhaps too, deep down, Donald Rumsfeld hates the decisions he's had to make, but believes that those decisions were necessary evils.
If we're perceived as evil, then so be it.
Just win, baby.