"Crazed Long-Hair Leads Kool-Aid Drinking Followers to Their Crucifixion!"
"False Prophet Followers Say He Can Walk On Water!"
"Son of God! Jobless Able-Bodied Beggar Lives Off Charity--Disgusting!"
"Convicted Felon Has Nothing to Offer But Salt!"
"Pre Diabetic Black Preacher Tries to Stir Up Controversy!"
I wonder what the headlines would be today, what the tweets would say, where Fox would come down in their coverage if the subject were Jesus, Gandhi or King, Jr. The preceding headlines are potentially what we'd be reading about the preceding. And yet they are admired as men of peace, men of wisdom, men of vision.
Here's a question I've heard bantered about regarding President Obama on the morning of his award for the Nobel Peace Prize: "What has he accomplished?" Rather than list his accomplishments, which then are simply criticized as "so what it's a book," "so what he tricked a bunch of kids into voting for him," "so what has he accomplished of substance" I'd like to ask the same question of Jesus, Gandhi or King Jr.
And I'd have the same retort. "Okay, take out the 2000 year old magic stuff and what did he accomplish." "Okay, but he didn't free a nation; he just gave pretty speeches." "Okay, but it was a little old lady who wouldn't move on the bus." Give me something of substance that any of the preceding accomplished and their resumes are vacuous. As far as I know Jesus never even attended a university of note.
And, I'm not asking for myself because I have a long and substantial list for each of these three people.
Perhaps the most substantial thing any of these men did was they led and gave their lives for a vision of a better world. And, no their world wasn't perfect and no they weren't perfect (I believe we would find that all three had some infidelities and some foibles that at least support that last clause).
And gosh I'd like to see our wars end and I'd like to see our secret prisons closed and I'd like to be a part of the global community on climate change and I'd like to end the hunger and starvation and associated diseases that kill tens of thousands of people in our world everyday.
I'd also like to live in a country that's smart enough not to elect the next GW Bush or Ronald Reagan or Sarah Palin because we criticize and demonize an imperfect man. Because ultimately everything that goes on in our world be it a war in Iraq or a genocide in Darfur or a hate beating or killing in Wyoming or Texas isn't our President's responsibility, it isn't the responsibility of the "do nothing" Congress, it isn't the responsibility of the people of Darfur. It's ours.
We are in Iraq because we didn't say "no." Not "no" as a government, but "no" as a people. And there were very few, following 9-11 who raised their voice when we went in and bombed the living hell out of the living hell of Afghanistan. Very, very few. And there was hardly a voice of discontent when our President and his storm troopers from Cheney to Rice to Rumsfeld to Powell then lied us into Iraq. And how many remember when GW was debating Gore Bush saying about our military misadventures "before we go in we have to have a plan for getting out?" How many? And how many thought (and still maybe think) Gore is boring?
Personal responsibility is the inconvenient truth of this conversation.
You want to end the wars? You want a peaceful nation? You want to end the violence of world hunger?
Then what are you doing sitting there responding to this piece even if the only response you can muster is in your head?