I‘ve always wondered where passive compliance ends and where active evil begins. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is absolute malice in this world and I know that there are some who have sold their souls to the devil in order to reign above humanity. However, the number of people who belong in this depraved clan represent only a tiny fraction of mankind. Whether their count is a dozen, a few hundred or even a couple of thousand only God knows.
Outside of these public and private serpents, the vast majority of our world’s population, in one shape or another, have good and bad sides about them who enable pernicious oligarchs like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos—and other names we have never heard of—to dictate policies that keep billions entangled in poverty and billions more enmeshed in perpetual financial anxieties. In order to avoid the fate that has befallen the poor and homeless, the working and middle-class have chosen conformity for the sake of convenience over defiance of tyranny ever since civilization came to forefront.
I don’t have to go too far to highlight what I mean by people choosing deference over principles—all I have to do is point at myself. Not too long ago, when I was a high-priced consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, I supported the very same Department of Defense that was conducting the Iraq War while I was protesting George W. Bush’s genocide against a nation that never attacked us. Even now, as much as I am repulsed by the vile and predatory ways of the aforementioned Gates and Bezos, I am using a computer that has a Microsoft Operating System and I continue to purchase products from Amazon.
It is impossible to avoid the world wide web of goods and services offered by billionaires and the root of evil, which is money, that fuels it all. We are motivated by fear and inspired by ambition to keep quite when we witness injustices because we value trinkets above equality. Instead of boldly saying no in the face of iniquity, the vast majority of us swallow our ethics and go about our lives hoping and praying that we are not next on the firing line. I’ve often said that paychecks have made slaves of many men; we are so afraid of losing our possessions that our possessions have ended up possessing us. Most of us have good hearts who nonetheless empower evil through our compliance. Nearly 8 billion people have become indentured servants of a sliver of humanity who weaponized their cash to rule over us with their wealth. Click To Tweet
It is easy to bash the police or the military for protecting the status quo and defending the very institutions that are bleeding this world, but in truth all of us guilty of the very charges we accuse others of because we are all sanctioning a system that has a boot on our collective throats. As much as I bash Rachel Maddow or criticize Sean Hannity, in a way they are no different than a consultant who supported the very department from Mondays through Fridays whose actions I marched against during the weekends.
Sure politicians, pundits and opinion leaders have a megaphone and they are able to condition tens of millions of Americans to act against their own interests and endorse insidious policies that are suffocating humanity but they are extreme ends of what we all have become. The ego is a most bedeviling friend; so eager are most to get ahead in this world or maintain status that we are willing to be a party to endeavors that our consciences are loath to accept. It is easier to point fingers at others but we should really inspect the target the other three fingers are aiming at.
My passions occasionally get the best of me, but in the quiet of my mind I know that the near totality of this globe’s inhabitants are struggling daily between the angels and demons that occupy our hearts. Judgement is not ours for a reason; the desire to achieve justice through force leads to wrath. The minute we choose vindictiveness, we condemn ourselves into the hell of hubris that has a strangle hold on the same serpents who are poisoning billions with their venoms and constricting almost every nation around the world with their currencies.
During my tenure at Booz Allen Hamilton, while I was living in a posh condominium in Falls Church, Virginia, I used to have an abiding fear of the police. The minute I saw a cruiser behind me or an officer approaching me, I used to tense up thinking that the people who swore to serve and protect me would give me the Rodney King treatment if I said something out of line. In 2015, my view of the police changed irrecoverably when a cop named Officer Beaufort literally saved my life and shepherded me away from peril. I am only here today because he saw it fit to say no while others were intent on carrying out orders that could have led to my demise.
That same year, as I found myself enveloped by homelessness and begging God for vindication, I started detailing my travels on a now defunct website. I wrote not out of love and hopefulness but from a place of contempt and retribution. The more I drank from the chalice of grievance, the more bitter and biting my choice of words became. I was especially piqued when it came to Barack Obama—that story I will tell another day—to the point where I wrote with seething fury about the con artist who bamboozled tens of millions of Americans in 2008.
In short order, the Secret Service reached out to me and arranged for a sit down while I was homeless in Greenville, South Carolina. I sat down with two agents for over four hours and told them my story as they examined the few possessions I had to my name and inspected every aspect of my life. When the interview started, I could feel that they did not have my interests at heart but by the time the conversation ended, they changed from being adversarial to being protective. Two hours into the grilling, their approached changed and they offered me water and one of the agents allowed me to grab a cigarette outside. He followed me to the balcony and stood by me while I smoked; at that exact moment, I felt like I had a guardian angel by my side.
I recount these stories to show that most of us are good people at our core. Though we might be employed at corporations that purvey injuries throughout the world, work at agencies that spill blood globally or purchase merchandise from companies that are poisoning our planet for the sake of profits, almost all of us have redeemable aspect to our lives. Even the most zealous among us, who have infected their psyches with prejudices, were once kind folks who let antipathy overcome their innocence. This world gets the best of us all; to live is to be mobbed by painful memories and to be shackled with scars.
On this day that Ethiopians celebrate Fasika (the Resurrection of Yeshua), I write this article as a reminder that love is the only way forward. We can condemn and criticize from here to kingdom come, but in the end all we are doing is adding logs onto the fires that are scorching our planet and threatening to incinerate us all. Like it or not, we are all in this together. Either we get over our differences and unite as a species or we will go extinct as we let greed and ego lead humanity to a final mRNA solution. We near an inflection point; we can course correct through empathy and compassion or we will careen off the cliff drunk off bitterness.
I write this article with our military, the police, media professionals and people who work in government specifically in mind. Whether you are employed by a three letter agency, put on the uniform and follow chains of command, get paychecks from the likes of CNN, MSNBC and their kind or have a career at the White House or beyond, I say this with sincerity when I tell you that I understand and that you should not be overburdened by guilt. I don’t see you as depraved any more than I thought I was debased when I worked at the Pentagon; many want revolutions but few are willing to bear the opening salvos of an uprising.
EUROPE ON FIRE: Riot police spray tear gas as they come under attack from protesters in France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, with thousands defying lockdown rules to take to the streets in cities across the world for May Day rallies https://t.co/5aLuILc5fr via @MailOnline
— ARIELLAp1000 (@AriellaP1000) May 1, 2021
You are me, I am you; if we could see this world through this perspective instead of viewing society through the “us versus them” prism, we could truly bend the arc of history towards justice in our lifetime. Bombs and bullets will not deliver justice nor will hate and anger drive out the darkness; only through goodwill towards others who don’t resemble us and extended hands of friendships to those who don’t think like us can we find redemption before humanity goes silently into the night. I have faith, maybe not in my lifetime, that one day our children will no longer grow up to become adults who antagonize one another but maintain their innocence and see each other as brothers and sisters until their last breaths.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Mark 12:31
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