Live and let live?
Highlands Today"Live and let live" masks a shallow philosophy. If it worked, we could loose all prisoners. Four law officers murdered in Washington this past week would be alive. Instead of learning from tragedies, we foster them. Our solutions resemble weakening our coffee so much we might as well drink mud.
Published: December 3, 2009
Published: December 3, 2009
We make rules we do not enforce. Our children learn early that "no" means nothing. They press clear boundaries, like dress codes in our schools, find them ignored, then later tuck weapons in pants falling below their rears. We speak of immigration laws yet tolerate "illegal aliens." The term sums up the idiocy.
Live and let live? If it worked, innocent brown faces of Sri Lanka's 300,000 war refugees, still imprisoned in squalid, overcrowded government camps six months after the civil war ended, would not stare empty eyed from a November 2009 newspaper.
Live and let live? Implied, no-consequences isolation seduces us. A December 2008 intelligence report warned of increasing terrorism. Yet, in November 2009 four terrorists plotting to destroy Chicago's Willis Tower and FBI offices were sentenced to less than 10 years; prosecutors sought 30 to 50 prison years with 70 for the ringleader.
Live and let live? If it worked, we'd still be in Eden. Instead, like the garden's serpent, the face of past brutal dictator Saddam Hussein appeared across the Arab world Nov. 27, broadcast over a new, mysterious satellite channel dubbed the "Saddam Channel."
Live and let live? If it worked, economic crisis would be impossible in a world of plenty. Instead, greed blinds us. American, British, and other money were poured into Dubai, part of United Arab Emirates, a place the Boston Globe in a November 2008 report called "the frenetic, oil-rich financial capital of the Arab world." Why be surprised when in November 2009 Dubai, dubbed modern day Babel, threatens to default on $60 billion in debt? Why be shocked that a place unknown to many affects our lifestyle?
Live and let live? If it worked, we would not be watching the American Music Awards' degeneration. This year's past American Idol star Adam Lambert paraded his sadomasochistic theme, fondling a dancer, leading another on a leash, faking oral sex, and erotically kissing a man. Live and let live? If it worked, we would not be bombarded with the kind of "reality show" wannabe's crashing the president's first state dinner.
Live and let live? Many embrace the ideology: the famous Beatles; comedian George Carlin; handsome James Bond. Some, like Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, mean well: "To live and let live, without clamor for distinction or recognition... to write truth first on the tablet of one's own heart... perfection of living."
Until perfection, however, those who believe they are "salt" and "light" (Matthew 5:13-16) must deliberately seek to influence. Otherwise, as historian Arnold Toynbee warned: "History teaches us that when a barbarian race confronts a sleeping culture, the barbarian always wins."
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.