Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Courage of Your OWN Convictions

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I've always been of the opinion that the tougher you talk, the less likely you are to back it up with a plan of action. I'm noticing that total lack of character more and more nowadays, in our current climate of so many people willing to shoot off their mouths, with absolutely zero substantive intentions of backing it up.

For the last few years, the most striking example of my point is this breathtakingly stupid Iraq War. The United States involvement in this debacle is a classic example of cowardly leaders wanting to rewrite their own shameful pasts. They falsely acquire their new found courage by duping and influencing other men and women into doing things they could not. They in effect force them to display the courage they, themselves clearly lacked. George W. Bush, the male cheerleader who put the dessert in deserter, and Dick Cheney, the man with other priorities, such as a five deferment cyst, are the most obvious abusers of courage without convictions, but they're far from alone in this sniveling lifestyle they have chosen to exist in.

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I'm sure that every single one of us who is sickened by this war, in part due to the staggering cost in human lives, the tolls placed on millions of families on both sides, the resources that would be so much better allocated to help rather than kill people, want desperately for this war to end immediately. It seems the only people who want this war to continue, are the most despicable cowards imaginable, those who chose to demonstrate their courage through only words. They rally others who share their rhetoric with hatred and false bravado, so as to have others spill their blood and thereby satiating their own brand of behind the scenes courage. Let's be 100% real here. When the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, young men and women expressed their outrage by racing to induction centers all across the country to enlist and fight. They spoke through their actions, not their words. They didn't pontificate about how tough they were, they just shut up and proved it.

Now we fast forward sixty years ahead. The USA was attacked much in the same manner Pearl Harbor was. Our political leaders seized upon this fact to implement their own misguided plans of grandeur to recreate the world in their own image, one country at a time. They convinced the people who shared this vision, that Iraq was the Satan responsible for the carnage that took place on 9/11 and felt certain, they would answer the bell and rally to the cause ala 1941. An interesting thing happened though. Their lemmings didn't rush to the sea with nearly the same numbers that rushed to their couches, computers and radios. They chose to fight this war with chat rooms, right wing radio call in shows, and chicken hawk bravado. They're cheerleaders, not fighters. They fervently support this war with words of encouragement, but without courage of convictions. So here they sit, nearly 4 1/2 years later, still talking about how courageous they are, as they sit on the couch rather than in inadequate body armor on the field of battle.

Unfortunately, this new brand of clucking courage has infiltrated other areas of life as well. One example that is currently in the news comes from the coal mines of Utah. Any human being can feel empathy for the families of the six miners trapped in the cave-in a few weeks ago. Three courageous people, who actually got off their collective couches, and put their fortitude where many others only put their words, died whilst attempting to rescue the trapped miners. There is absolutely no indication these six miners even survived the initial cave-in, but still, the heroic rescuers gave their own lives to try and save the original six, nonetheless. Because of these rescuers dying and the universal agreement it's far too dangerous to risk anybody else's life, along with the almost 100% certitude that the original six miners could not possibly still be alive, the rescue/recovery mission was suspended.

The families of the missing miners were understandably saddened by the lack of a successful rescue, and being reunited with their loved ones. To me, the sadder part was their anger about the rescue being called off. Their resentment was so apparent, when describing how they felt betrayed by the rescue termination. They never once, even begrudgingly, acknowledged that under the circumstances, they were disappointed, but certainly understood the decision to cease rescue operations. They never even offered to get off their couches and take part in the extremely dangerous mission to enter that crippled mine.They certainly did not do so in the same public manner in which the criticism was leveled, if at all. If we feel so strongly and impassioned by something, we owe it to the cause and to ourselves to rise up and do rather than sit and talk. Fortunately, past generations realized this. If they hadn't, we would most likely be speaking English with a British accent, German or maybe even Japanese.

I think we should talk in order to exchange ideas, come up with better ways of doing things, and preventing idiots from leading us down a path to ruin. However, when all else fails and we find ourselves supporting a futile war or a disaster that requires action, more so than talk, it's then time to put the courage of our convictions into actions, as opposed to sitting back whining with only empty words........

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