Friday, September 5, 2014

War & Peace

I used to think that the only way the various factions in the world would ever unite is if earth were being attacked by alien life forms from outer space. No longer do I believe that even a Martian army could do the trick. I’m not even convinced that such an invasion would unite Americans, let alone Russians and Ukrainians, Israelis and Palestinians or Muslims and civilized people.

Americans are so divided that conservatives and liberals can’t even agree that the butchers in ISIS should be confronted and exterminated. But, then, we Americans have a history of ostrich-like isolationism. There were tens of millions who saw no good reason to go to war with Nazi Germany even after Hitler had spent over three years gobbling up our allies in Europe and obliterating the Jewish population. If we hadn’t been attacked at Pearl Harbor, which led FDR to declare war on Japan, which, in turn, led Germany to declare war on us, today all of Europe not ruled by Russia would probably be under the Nazi boot.

The only wars that liberals care about are those they invent; namely those they insist conservatives are waging on women, gays and blacks, and, of course, the crusade they incessantly wage against conservatives.

One of the problems with this particular crusade is that the casting is lousy and the mission has little or nothing to do with the truth. In the case of Ferguson, MO, the fact is that most of those who were looting and burning and battling the cops were out-of-towners, even out-of-staters like Al (“Show me the money and the TV cameras”) Sharpton, who had no history with the Ferguson Police Department, and therefore no legitimate grievance.

There is also the matter of these black martyrs. It’s one thing to say that Martin Luther King, Jr., was an innocent victim. But Rodney King, O.J. Simpson, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, were by no stretch of the imagination innocent. And only those with a racist agenda would claim otherwise.

Another aspect of this war that the Sharptons of the world choose to ignore is that of the 2,720 most recent black murder victims, 2,459 were killed by fellow blacks. So the war is certainly real enough, but those waging it don’t happen to be white cops or white civilians.

In fact, I’m reminded of Matthew Shepard, whose murder was used by gay activists to dramatize the worst excesses of what they came to label homophobia. In their well-publicized narrative, young Mr. Shepard was murdered by two gay-bashing thugs. What wasn’t mentioned or even alluded to was that he and his two killers were all involved with the use and sale of illegal drugs, and one of the killers, Aaron McKinney, far from being a gay-basher, was himself a homosexual who had been sexually involved with Shepard.

There is yet another undeclared war taking place. It’s the one that pits Obama and the liberals against America’s middle class by increasing the welfare rolls. As of 2012, 109 million Americans were collecting welfare in one form or another. Back then, that was 35.4% of the population, but both numbers have since increased. That means that 64.6% of us are helping to feed, clothe and house, people we don’t know, who aren’t related to us and who never even send us a Christmas card. That’s probably just as well, as we’d be stuck paying for those cards. Still, to help drive the message home, the next time you’re taking a walk, look around. If you see three people, chances are you’re supporting one of them.

I haven’t remarked on the passing of Robin Williams. I never met him, so I have nothing of a personal nature to share. But there is one aspect to his death that I think calls for a comment. We have all heard that he suffered from depression, which has led many people to wonder how it is that anyone as famous, wealthy and well-liked as Mr. Williams, could possibly be depressed.

I believe the problem is that “depression” has come to describe two seemingly similar states of mind that in fact are as different as dusk and dawn. We have all at one time or another experienced depression. We’ve all lost a spouse, a friend, a parent, a job, even a pet, and for a time we’ve found ourselves unable to cope with day-to-day life.

We have had our heads bombarded with endless questions. Why get out of bed? Why get dressed? Why bother leaving the house? But in time, we are able to move on. Time may not heal all wounds, but time allows the open wound to develop a scab, and the light of our life slowly begins to brighten.

But the depression that plagued Robin Williams wasn’t the sort that was caused by external events. Not even the early onset of Parkinson’s could explain why he sought what has been called a permanent solution to a temporary problem. No outsider could look at his life, sigh sadly, and say, “Well, it’s no wonder the poor soul preferred death to life.”

It would be as if instead of calling cancer cancer, we called it the flu or arthritis.

I think the disease that afflicted Robin Williams needs to be renamed, so that those who suffer from its savagery aren’t dismissed as mere weaklings or cowards.

To live with the cruel and unrelenting illness for as long as Robin Williams somehow managed to do, and to make it all the way to 63, actually requires the sort of perseverance that in other circumstances often merits a medal, the key to the city or even a statue in the park.

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?