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Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire

by  Victor Gente Delespejo

Posted: Monday, May 12, 2008
Word Count: 1692
Summary: A short piece on the abuse of idealism by self-serving expediency and on how to approach the matter. Acquiesce or do something about it...?

The George Dubya Bush administration is responsible for many crimes against humanity, too many and complicated to list. So let’s just put things in a nutshell.
The Dubya Bush administration has started an unnecessary war in the name of making the world safe from a loathsome dictator only to exacerbate the situation in the Middle East, creating a civil conflict within Iraq, allowing numerous terrorist cells to spawn from the chaos, and turning global opinion against the US – and against the West in general – at a time where it deserved all the support in the world. What a waste. What a monumentally stupid waste!
Yet, the biggest crime of the Dubya administration is not the illegal invasion of a sovereign state over ultimately unsubstantiated claims about the presence of WMD’s, or Saddam’s threat to global security, or his links to Al-Qaeda, etc etc; it is not the inflammation of an area already drenched in nitroglycerin – nor the killing of people like you and me, whether Iraqi nationals or American soldiers – nor is it the torture that has taken place in Abu Ghraib prison or in front of the cameras of a vicious butcher squad that chose to make retaliatory headlines by sawing people’s heads off. No, the crime is far worse than that, far nastier, far deeper.
The crime de la crème of the Dubya administration is none other than the rape and murder of idealism itself, in the name of which this whole goddamn mess was created. It was in the name of ideology that Iraq was invaded, and it is against that specific ideology that the criticism for the invasion of Iraq is pounding. The justified opposition to Dubya’s stance is finally making headway and is gaining ground on him, but, unfortunately, it cannot contain itself and is delivering blows far beyond Dubya’s ideals alone. It is in fact pounding against idealism itself, rejecting it in every form other than a loosely appreciated and barely shared concept of laissez-faire economics and practical politics. Not a promising development, to be sure.
Idealism is down and struggling. It will take a great deal of time and effort to resurrect its worth in our hearts and minds, appreciating its value once again.
While we struggle to regain it, we are an idealism-fearing and sceptical bunch embroiled in a sinister conflict that seems to be spreading. And there is nothing more dangerous than being in a sinister conflict without the benefit of a good ideology. Actually, there is, and it is none other than being in the shadow of a certain initiative-turned-conflict that has not only been started by you, but also been clearly proven and widely acknowledged to have been conducted under the pretences of a flashy but hollow set of ideals.
How terminal it all becomes when noble ideals are used as ashes in the eyes of the gullible so that the greedy can gain a few more millions for themselves. Once a group of legitimate businesspeople and politicians, these individuals possessed vast amounts of wealth and power, which they had earned through hard, legitimate work, and, truth be told, they deserved every smidgeon of it. But then some of them got greedy and decided to bend the rules to their advantage; they bent them, they broke them and rewrote them, trammelling the benefits of the global economy with their tactics and connections while disregarding the principles of justice and fair play completely. Now these tainted individuals are nothing but a bunch of thugs in suits, who have used their power irresponsibly and with utter disregard to the workings of the now interconnected global dynamic, reaping the fruits of their cunning to quench their obsession for more wealth and power. Lords in ivory towers, building fortifications around the lands they are squelching dry, they are investing in the headquarters by ravaging the rest of the territory. Not very inspired or farsighted, is it?
Well, the good news is that in the day of globalisation, there are more things that have gone global than the economy; awareness has grown global too, and so has public perception. No action of that calibre goes unnoticed anymore, and, seen for the thugs that they are, these people are now wanted across the globe for the crimes they have committed – and gotten away with. Everyone knows who they are and how they have made it; the truth is out there, working its way through every individual’s mind, sifting through the facts and turning the cogs of judgement; gradually and deliberately, a few billion bull’s-eyes have begun to hone in on them. Justice will eventually catch up with them, and the wealth they have extracted by causing global tensions and bloody conflicts will be worthless to them. Nothing – not even all the money and influence in the world – can keep them safe anymore. Ask Louis XVI and his corrupt bunch. They know.
You see, when you invoke the name of God and the principles of liberty and democracy in order to lay your claims on oil or to conduct a socio-politico-economic experiment, then you are clearly in the situation where the shit has hit the helicopter rotor – hardly anything to complain about, for if one throws shit in the air, then one shouldn’t complain when he gets shit stains on his clothes.
But there is a problem in all of this. When you throw shit around in the global village, where I, too, live, and when you are doing so from the neighbourhood where I live in, then not only do I get stained myself but I also get targeted by those you so blatantly shat upon.
Now, this is not something I should have to put up with, surely. I had a voice the last time I checked, and I think it’s about time I used it, for it seems that instead of being dragged by force in the crossfire of the greatest shitstorm to ever hit the planet, I am actually being cooed into it, like a moth to a flame. And that’s no good! It doesn’t speak well of my character and integrity. No, I will shout my opinions and fight for what I believe in rather than acquiesce. Acquiescence… The new plague.
But that’s not all. There is another problem brewing up, volatile and corrosive. Its name is Cynicism. And while the Cynics are gaining ground, chiselling away at any form of ideology in the name of reason and sanity, little do they know that their tactics are stripping our society of its backbone. Soon the only thing left of it will be a saggy bag of skin sprawled all over the floor and going nowhere. Our self-defence from abused idealism and rampant zealots will turn fast to an equally monolithic paradigm that brands any sort of idealism evil or manipulative, purging the modern world clean of religious fundamentalism… and we have just made a 180 degree turn, boomeranging from zealous conservatism to zealous liberalism!
Clearly, the way forward is not the fear of idealism. Nor is it the castigation of idealists. Just because a certain Dubya and his gang have abused certain noble ideals to further their personal wealth and schemes does not render all idealism obsolete or counterproductive. In fact, such a nullifying approach would only be expected of the Dubyas of the world and their narrow-minded gangs whom we are criticizing so harshly. Dare we follow in their footsteps, even if our path lies in the safe coordinates of a distant mirror image? Or is it about time to come together under something truly noble for which we will live together, and if need be, fight and even die together defending it? The proposition may sound ridiculous, but perhaps this says more about the times we live in rather than the proposition itself, times where fighting for what one believes in is considered ridiculous. And perhaps it is time to pause for a minute and actually ask ourselves if there is truly nothing that unsettles us enough to make us stand up and fight for it. Who knows? We may surprise ourselves however placid we may be. After all, when diseased, people must do certain things in order to get better, no matter their disposition. They often surprise themselves with all the things they go through to heal themselves – things they once thought impossible – and they do what they have to do to get better, whether they be calm, placid or downright docile characters. If they don’t, then it’s goodbye cruel world. And while life goes on even after the death of certain individuals, it is nothing more than a life born out of the prevalence of a disease. Quite a cancerous prospect, I assure you, and with a never-ending supply of disease in the pipeline of existence, we may begin to realise that the only thing that can run out is our demand to fight for our health.
Perhaps it is about time we stand and fight against the cancers to our way of life, whatever they may be, before they begin to claim ourselves or our loved ones. Perhaps it is about time to become free men and women again, men and women of dignity and self respect; humans in pursuit of higher principles and not animals chasing carrots and bananas and glittering gold coins. This is the time when few must stand against many, allowing the Cynics and the Takers to take no more. No more! It’s time to reach out and reclaim our lives from them. Not an easy task, for sure, but it will be worth it, if not for our sake then for our children. After all, they are the future. Our children are the reason why we do things; they are the core that keeps the adult satellites trundling, the force that gives us purpose, the reason why we care. They are the future of our existence… Or has this become nothing more than just another empty slogan that we have learned to squawk loudly to ourselves on our way to work and back?