Thursday, December 24, 2009

Poor Jesus

A standing joke in my family for years has been my stock answer to the question from my kids, what do you want for Christmas? The habitual reply: World Peace. After so many years, the irony and perhaps the genuineness of the desire has been lost on them. Or perhaps my kids, having grown up with war and killing virtually all their lives, view the response as just Dad making jokes again. I wish I could really say it's a joke to me. But it isn't.

I'll admit to being a hopeless dreamer when it comes to what's possible for humanity if it ever grows a brain or a conscience. In this case, it's an either-or proposition: one or the other, brain or conscience, would certainly suffice for humans to grasp once and for all and permanently the indisputable truth that war is a cruel, pointless, sick, fruitless, and inhuman exercise. But to publicly espouse such a position in this country, indeed, in most countries, is to automatically brand yourself not only as some kind of nut case, but an unpatriotic traitor to the nation. The only solace for us nut cases is to realize that we're not alone. A lot of people are crazy like this.

And some of them actually have public voices. Unfortunately, those voices are typically drowned out by the clamor of the super patriots or the justifications for war by the elite chattering and scribbling classes. A member of which we must certainly count people like New York Times op-ed writer David Brooks. Fortunately, there are people like Matt Taibbi around to set the record straight. Taibbi is profane and unsparing in his demolishing of what he calls "Brooks's recent toadyist masterpiece." He refers to Brooks's latest column, "Obama's Christian Realism," which basically endorses Obama's indefensible decision to widen the war in Afghanistan on moral grounds--with, Taibbi gleefully points out, the exact same arguments he used to endorse George Bush's decision for war. 

I love it when something like war--one of the most clearly un-Christian activities there is--becomes "realism" when it's time to excuse it. But that's nothing new, of course. Poor Jesus has been twisted to fit the narrow, selfish and bloody purposes of humankind from the beginning.
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