Monday, August 4, 2014

The Absurdity of the Spectacle We Are All a Part of Today

The world is broken. Split down the middle of its whole structure of existence. Civilization wobbles on cracked limbs leaving it basically immobile and infirm.

The Ebola virus threatens West Africa and potentially all of us. The mulish ignorance and superstition, the wretched poverty and corruption of human life there invites indifference to all the simple protections against deadly diseases. The virus there spreads and kills because of human neglect, illiteracy, and obstinate religious cultism and bizarre myths. It destroys life because of the political indifference of the countries themselves and of the rest of the world toward them.

Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan all remain locked in some horrendous blood bath that leaves the rest of us weary with it all. The politics and religious fanaticism involved in that mess of cultures is beyond any rational unraveling. The political corruption, the insane inhuman greed fed by these wars, the waste of life, theirs and of our soldiers, the mindless exhaustion of resources—financial and otherwise, and the arrogance of killing for killing’s sake without any seemingly clear sense of the moral or human consequences is simply staggering.

There is Israel and Gaza, the Jews and the Palestinians. I have no answers left for that scene of sadistic cruelty. They are not interested in answers; only in hate and revenge. Israel listens to no one. Its political and military leaders have convinced themselves it’s perfectly fine to slaughter civilians, even children, in the name of some aberrant form of justice they have concocted within their minds. I will not be convinced by their threadbare arguments, their high and mighty stance of righteousness. Their actions violate every moral value of humanity. Their endless bombing of schools, homes, Mosques, hospitals, UN facilities, even the Gaza Center for the Disabled, profanes their great historic religion. Judaism is now stained in the blood of the innocent. Great biblical truths which for centuries have served the world with wisdom and spiritual guidance are now belittled and rendered useless by the crude violence of a once great people. I understand the points made against Hamas. I’m aware of the evil it has perpetrated. But there is no convincing me that what Israel thinks it is doing to Hamas has any meaning or purpose given the human toll it has cost. None. No justifying statements will move me. The leadership of Israel won’t even listen to its own people, many of whom are disgraced by the carnage exacted on the Palestinian people. And what is the goal here? I have no idea. Nor do the Israeli leaders. They are out of ideas. They have no imagination with which to deal with their enemy. And now they have no moral authority left. They have emptied their moral resources on the lives of the Palestinians.

And here at home, the shamelessness of our political leaders borders on the criminal. This childish, deranged partisanship in Congress, these pathetic divisions within our country that keep us caught in some vicious rage, are degrading and demeaning. I keep looking for the brains in this country to step up and show us the way. So far they remain silent. I thought for sure we would hear from intelligent religious leaders, from men and women with conscience and heart, educated people with ideas and brilliance who could guide us into sensible solutions, help us return to the values that made us pioneers and explorers, truth seekers and learners, people with dreams not just for ourselves but dreams that would lift others out of terrible circumstances, dreams bathed in some splendid new discovery, dreams for peace and human cooperation, dreams dedicated to the advancement of all humankind. Instead, we wade through the muck of piggishness, greedy excess, self-bluster, disdain for anyone not like us, hate brimming with evil, indifference to violence, and the exaltation of force of brutality of stupidity. 

There was a sketch some years ago of Steve Martin mocking the phony politeness of people in Los Angeles. A line of people waited their turn to withdraw cash from an ATM machine, while a line of armed robbers waited their turn in a separate line to politely ask for and steal each person’s money. 

The absurdity of that spectacle seems to be where we are today. Why are we not all outraged at the brokenness of our world? Why do we maintain this polite tolerance of the depraved ideas and the calamitous threats to the body and soul of our human existence?

© 2014 Timothy Moody

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