Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The lesson we should have learned

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about the parable of the Good Samaritan. He put a new twist on it. He asked, why didn't the first two people stop? Oh, sure, there's talk about ritual cleanliness and so forth, but he travelled the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, and he saw that it was a road that was perfect for an ambush. They might have thought "what if the robbers are nearby?" or "what if this person is only pretending to be wounded?"

"If I stop to help, what might happen to me?" they thought, and continued on.

But the Samaritan is the one who asked "If I don't stop to help, what will happen to him?" He stopped; he helped.

If there's been one lesson we could all take from him, that would be the one I'd choose.

I've had a lot of strong differences of opinion with many people regarding how to conduct the war on terror. Torture, the invasion of Iraq, the holding of detainees at Guantanemo.

And I think that's the difference there, in a nutshell. Too many people asked "If we don't 'aggressively interrogate' people, if we don't invade Iraq, if we don't hold detainees under the conditions we're holding them under, what will happen to us?"

We do live in a dangerous world; there are legitimate fears. "If we don't, what will happen to us?"

But because we did, what happened to them? The victims?

Dr. King spoke about how warfare was becoming less of an option, and I think he was referring to the dangers of nuclear war, living as he did in the middle of the cold war. The world is a big, scary place, with the threat of horrible death around every corner.

But the answer to that is to look around the world, and love people that much more, because we're all facing the demons of fear and hatred.

Because, face it, if the answer is "we must be bigger, meaner, and scarier than ever, making the world a bigger, meaner, scarier place", it's got to be the wrong question.

Comments:
It ties in with a good quote you had on Pandagon, "John", one which I wish to quote in a policy paper. Might I ask you to email me at seeker6079 [at] gmail?
 
Unfortunately, without thinking "what could happen to them?" is going come back and haunt us as well.

The last 6 years have been the most embarrassing rip in the fabric of democracy. It's just nice to know there are some "sane and rational" people like us left. (pun intended)
 
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