The Real Enemy

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

We here in the West are a “determine the enemy, react quickly, defend our territory and ideology, and eliminate the threat, fast and furious” culture.  The enemy is typically whoever stands in our way of promoting our agenda or ideology and can be either foreign or domestic.  Increasingly, in some countries like the US, political pundits set up an “us” and “them” in the domestic arena to win political power, gain control over the populace, and strengthen the resolve against that enemy.  They do so, in part, by preying on the fact that most of us have become “surface dwellers” these days; we get our news from FOX or CNN or the local stations, hearing only what the biased owners and producers of those conglomerates want us to hear.  We seldom dig beneath all the rhetoric, all the “shock and awe” of round-the-clock, live, as-it-happens news. If we hear it on the morning broadcast or read it in our daily feed, it must be true.

Looking back briefly over US history, it seems there has always been an enemy, an “other.” The Germans, the Japanese, the USSR, Korea, the Vietnamese, the Ayatollah Khomeni, Iran, Sadam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Iraq, Al-Quaeda, and now, ISIS.  We don’t seem to be satisfied, though, in dealing only with enemies outside of our nation. We find enemies within our borders at every turn: the natives that were here when the new immigrants arrived, Northerners, Southerners, Republicans, Democrats, the Right, the Left, Blacks, Whites, the police, the administration, Christians, Satanists, large corporations, Big Pharma, and the list could go on.

Even in our smaller, day-to-day worlds, we fight a never-ending battle with unconquerable and often invisible enemies. We wrestle with physical pain that keeps us from doing the things we enjoy.  We suffer unimaginable emotional distress and turmoil that often leaves us unable to engage anymore in the fight and ready and willing to surrender.  We deal with the every day moral and ethical dilemmas of life and living, companionable foes in their own right that help us grow and move us forward.  But always, always, we face an enemy, an entity seen as an “other.”

ISIS is not what’s destroying us as a nation.  What ISIS does, wherever they do it, is horrible and unconscionable. But the fact is, what we do to ourselves and how we fall prey to the perpetuation of the illusion of others’ affects on us is what is destroying us.

“Our worst enemies are those we least suspect – ourselves.”

                                           –  Ivan Panin, Thoughts

We are, indeed, a powerful nation.  Many of us are also extraordinarily ethnocentric and paranoid, as well, believing that everyone else is out to get us even though the facts – the actual numbers – say otherwise.

  • 394,912 – number of people in the US killed by firearms due to homicide, suicide, and legal police shootings between 2001 and 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention database.
  • 3046 – number of people in the US killed by terrorism or possible terrorism, as maintained in the Global Terrorism Database.  The vast majority of these were, of course, from the attacks on 9/11.
  • approx. 7000 (gleaned from several sites and to 2015) – number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan wars
  • nearly 1,500,000 Iraqi civilians (innocent men, women, and children) killed during the war there.

There are statistics for Americans killed annually in automobile accidents (33,561 in 2012 – NHTSA), incidents of domestic violence (every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics), suicide (42,773 deaths every year in the US – afsp.org), and many, many more.

Maybe, instead of looking outside of our borders to find, confront, and destroy the enemy, we should start within.  We cannot be powerful and effective leaders if our own world is disordered and chaotic.

 

 

 

 

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