Do you know what I discovered recently? On at least four occasions I almost started a war over the course of the past three months.
See, what had happened was . . . I was going along and minding my own business—horrified like all good, sane people in the world that the self-proclaimed Emperor who is strutting around naked trying to become our President was rapidly being perceived as fully clothed and an acceptable POTUS—when I ran into some situations that pissed me off as much as he does.
Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune/Cagle Cartoons
In the interest of full disclosure, people piss me off all the time! IMHO, I am just one step from becoming a misanthrope. The Universe just better be glad that I am not a witch or a Being entrusted with super powers, because there would be a whole lot of toads hopping around here who had formerly been humans before they encountered my wrath because of something stupid they did that got on my every last nerve on any given day.
A month or two ago, I saw a White woman who was waiting in her car at the entrance of my housing community. As I passed her in my car, I innocently caught her attention, so I smiled as any normal human being would. (I didn’t have any reason not to smile: my bowels were not stopped up as is my normal state of being, and the sun was shining.) I didn’t know her from Adam and she didn’t know me from Eve, but as I came eye to eye with her, instead of a smile, she gave me the finger—just because she apparently had nothing better to do that day but to piss off the Black woman. WTF?
A couple weeks ago, I passed by the biggest Confederate flag draped over a major highway in Virginia—one that leads to the airport and to Washington, DC. This flag of hate is on private property and it is clearly there to cause provocation as its ginormous size and position are obviously intended to be noticed on Mars. I don’t remember that flag being there before the massacre of Black church members in Charleston, SC by the White supremacist who they befriended, and then he repaid their hospitality by gunning them down in their own church. Consequently, the good people of South Carolina led by their governor pulled down the Confederate flag from the State Capitol grounds because it had become a symbol of hate to so many. The fact that the Confederate flag is purposely being flaunted in my face in the state of Virginia on a road that I travel all the time . . . well, pissed I am!
Several days ago, George Zimmerman shamelessly auctioned off the gun he used to kill an unarmed Black child (Trayvon Martin) for $250,000 while he taunted Trayvon’s parents, trolled President Obama, and said he was selling the gun to keep Senator Clinton from becoming President—all the while puffing on a cigar and looking like Jabba the Hut. Why, I oughta . . .
What wouldn’t I personally love to do in order to bring justice to all these situations—from the personal slight to the demonic?
But . . . because I’ve been saved, sanctified, and baptized in the Holy Ghost (plus, God purposely didn’t give me super powers because I couldn’t be trusted), those people did not join the land of the frogs. I just found myself fanaticizing in the middle of the night one evening, when I couldn’t sleep from too much coffee, about what I’d do if I could become a super-hero vigilante. All my imaginations boiled down to waging . . .
For the luddite who returned an FU salute in response to my beatific smile, I imagined that I zapped her arm so that it froze in position with the offending finger on full display and stayed that way for a month (no, six months)—in front of her kids, at church, in the grocery store, at her work, and while she had sex with her husband or whomever. Maybe next time she’d think twice before she shot that finger into the air at a total stranger that hadn’t done anything to her.
Of the Neanderthal Confederate flag in-your-face-rebel, I imagined creating my own drone that would firebomb that flag every night—never missing a night—until he or she ran out of money to replace it or just got tired of being terrorized by me and replaced it with a massive sign that said: “We surrender! The war of Northern aggression is over, and the South got its ass kicked!”
Of the heartless, disgusting excuse for a human being that is George Zimmerman, I luxuriated in the revenge fantasy of . . . oh, never mind. I’ll keep that one to myself because ignoramus George is such a litigious little stupid fellow he would not be able to tell that what I write is satire/fantasy and he would come after me with one of his many guns claiming he was “standing his ground.” But let’s just say my vigilante fantasy about George Zimmerman involved a river in the Amazon Basin filled with flesh-eating piranhas and Georgie-Porgie going for an afternoon swim.
But in the midst of my 3 a.m. revelry, an old Negro spiritual popped into my head:
“I’m gonna lay down my burdens,
Down by the river side,
Down by the river side,
Down by the river side,
I’m gonna lay down my burdens,
Down by the riverside,
And study war no more!”
As that old song floated through my brain and down into my heart, I suddenly realized that I was “studying war” to fight the hurtful, unjust, and spiteful burdens of my tormentors. I know that more often than not, humans are called upon to lay down their burdens of hurt and let go of the right to “study war” in retaliation to wrongs committed or there would never be any peace in any corner of the Earth because somebody is always actin’ the fool. If the truth be told, warring is hell, and it takes the better woman or man to forgive and let go than it does to strike out in anger and retaliation. I remembered the verse that Peter, Paul, and Mary added to this spiritual when they co-opted it to be used as an anti-war protest song during the Vietnam War:
“I’m gonna lay down that atom bomb
Down by the riverside . . .
And study war no more.”
But I am also not a fool, and I know that the Book of Ecclesiastes is right about the human condition when it says: “There is a time for peace and a time for war,” because if brave men and women didn’t fight against tyranny and monsters, who will always be with us, peace would never have a chance to reign and people would never be able to prosper. I just think that the human heart chooses to “study war” more often than it needs to for reasons that are less than righteous, and in the end thousands of young men and women needlessly go to their graves.
Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund Politicalcartoons.com
This Memorial Day, I’d like to encourage us all to forget about the cartoon of an election that is giving sane people everywhere massive heartburn issues and take the time to remember those people who have given their lives, their limbs, and sometimes their sanity when our country declared that there was “a time for war” to keep us safe. I do not judge their sacrifice or their call to duty. I owe them a deep debt of gratitude. But I would also like to remember those ideologies that we need to cling to that makes us great as a country when we decide to courageously “study war no more”: love of peace, quest for stiff gun controls, equality for all races, religions, and genders, and grace and tolerance for our fellowman.
May God bless us all this Memorial Day, and may God bless these United States of America.
Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund Politicalcartoons.com/Cagle Cartoons
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.”—Herbert Hoover
“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.”—John F. Kennedy
“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”—John Lennon
“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.”—William Tecumseh Sherman
ALL QUOTES BY www.brainyquotes.com
Cartoon used by permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times Tribune/Cagle Cartoons
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Cartoon used by permission: Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons
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