7.02.2009

Who, then, shall save us?

I have acquired some new insight, recently. I began reading a new book that has opened my eyes to some current issues.

Also recently, I have had three quotes running in my head.
The first is by Benjamin Franklin. After helping form the Constitution, a woman asked him "what have you given us?" He replied "a Republic, if you can keep it."
The second is from V for Vendetta. V takes a hailstorm of bullets, then calmly and choreographically takes down the half dozen or so guards protecting a certain Mr. Creedy. After Mr. Creedy tries to understand V's indestructible state, V replies that "Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof."
The third is from Watchmen, spoken by the character Rorshach speaks of the city that he once protected, says "[they] will look up and shout "save us!"...and I'll whisper "no."

The ways in which these words play together frightens me. I try not to force my agenda upon...anyone, really. But I am afraid.
One of you brave souls, I'm sure, is wondering of what I am afraid. And to you, I say "thank you for asking."

I am afraid of us.

The first quote represents something that few people will understand...and I don't know if I fully understand it either. The first quote expresses the depths to which America is founded. In its beginning, the rules by which a room full of men decided to run the country was based upon hard work, loyalty, and the desire to do the best for the people. These men could have destroyed the system, putting in loopholes that they could later navigate and thieve from the people as they would. But they had honor and integrity to put their very lives on the line to protect their children, their wives, their family...and even their enemies. Imagine yourself. Someone comes to your door and says "I need you to give up all your possessions, be humiliated and hated by the people, stop sleeping and eating healthy, and...leave your family and friends. In return, you have the chance to save your country...buuuut it might fail anyway." Would you take it?
I am daily grateful that almost 240 years ago, a room full of men decided to take that risk. I wonder what choice they would have made if they knew what had become of their true love: freedom.
I hope they still would have made that choice. But I wouldn't blame them if they didn't.

The second quote reaffirms the first. It is what every single revolutionary says. But few actually mean it. No, bullets cannot kill an idea. But unless the idea is carried out by followers, bullets can kill the only carrier of the idea. The last time Americans, at large, felt that idea was almost eight years ago. We remembered what it meant to have our hearts torn into. We felt the desire to protect an idea: freedom. Bullets cannot kill an idea. But we have found other things that CAN kill an idea: greed, lust, wrath, sloth, gluttony, envy, and pride. This is the fault of everyone, including myself. We LET the idea die. We wanted more and more! And we got it...at a sad price. It only cost...and idea. Freedom

This is where the third quote comes in, and this one scares me the most, for there is no redemption. The basis of this quote is that at one point, we allowed someone to step in and help us. They did their job well, and it was nice to have some extra help. But then we weren't grateful. We abused our gift. And finally it turned on us. It was only human, after all. What would you have done? And in the end, we will scream...begging, pleading for help...they they will look at us and say "no."

The ones we trusted...like little children we believed their lies...have led us to the slaughtering pin. And we were naïve enough to believe their words, without thinking for ourselves because...its easier to let someone think for us.
Sloth.

We wanted the easy way out, and so we got it. And then we wanted all the great things that OTHER people had... "free health care," all the funding we could ask for, new toys.
Greed. Envy.

But it still wasn't working out right, was it? So we allowed some more power to...oh...go and just TALK to them about how good they had it. But they didn't want us in. So we dreamed of our perfect system... GLARING at how gorgeous they had it.
Lust.

Well, looking wasn't enough, was it? We just had to have it. But since they wouldn't give it...we just took it. By brute force.
Wrath.

But it didn't just stop with one. We had to take their allies. And their neighbors! We had to have them ALL!
Gluttony.

And in the end, we sat back and looked at all the good we had done. We imagined how the world was a better place because we had schmoozed our way into a position of power. Things were looking up for us...we had arrived!
Pride.

And with that fatal turn...we died. We crumbled. The people FINALLY began to understand that there were standing in a house of lies...and like a house of glass, the rock had just been thrown. And we just sat by and let it happen. Now, we need help. But it is too late. It has been too late for some time now. We shout "SAVE US!"

And they say "no."