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"I'd find the controversy laughable if it weren't so damned serious."

I am not a Capitalist, a Christian, or a Conservative. I accept that these nots alone render me a shadow in this culture. Add to these deficits the fact that I'm also not a chauvinist of any color and therefore decidedly not a patriot, and I essentially become an anathema of an American, though the original charter guarantees me the full freedom to embrace whatever beliefs I feel moved to hold. The freedom of speech does not guarantee anyone the right to scream Fire! in any crowded theater, and being no dummy, I remain mostly mute when it comes to my true beliefs. Culture, whatever that might be, always seems to retain a dominant perspective along with the will to squelch and smother those failing to subscribe to that outlook.

During the American Revolution, no more than a third of the population supported the uprising. A third firmly supported the king, while another third refused to take a side, viewing the resulting war as an unfortunate choice.
To the so-called winners, though, goes the future dominant point of view. Now, we think everyone must have supported the self-proclaimed Sons Of Liberty, when two out of three decidedly did not. Later, loyalty tests even more onerous than those employed by any king determined who and what was not a true American. Most were circumspect enough to lie their pants off to avoid some unjust punishment, especially if they were not Capitalists, Christians, or sufficiently Conservative to satisfy the then current Holy See, thank you John Adams, second President of the country and former Son Of Liberty. He was a thin-skinned patriot. The United States never was a land of The Free, and more often the home of bully cowards than of the much-touted Brave. Most of us are deep-down chicken shit and we know it.

All notions of exceptionalism aside, our deep down chicken shit nature does not distinguish us from any other society, for humans, as our Founding Fathers recognized, are far too easily swayed. Like Napoleon discovered about his soldiers, give a man a colorful sash and he'll proudly lay down his life for the most abstract of principles and the most perverse of purposes. We're no different here other than that we believe perhaps more fervently in our founding principles and this conviction sometimes encourages our better angels to occasionally show themselves even when those angels are not Capitalists, Christians, or Conservatives. We sure seem to tussle a lot for a society founded upon civility.

Every society seems dominated by Capitalists, Christians, and Conservatives, the crowd I refer to as The Big Mean Guys. In some societies, the Capitalists adhere to strictly Marxist principles, but they behave just like Capitalists, anyway. In other societies, the Christians profess the Muslim creed, but still behave exactly like true-believing Christians. In still other societies, the Conservatives insist that they're left-wing rebels, but they still behave exactly like self-serving Conservatives. The labels hardly seem to matter except as justification for subjugating some so-called opposing minority. Each society is ruled by the same sort of minority playing to the Capitalists, Christian, and Conservative minority's interests. (It might be important to understand that the majority of this minority is probably just playing along, pretending to be of the dominant ilk in the hope of avoiding persecution and gaining some sort of prominence. This they refer to as Playing The Game.)

Capitalists, Christians, and Conservatives are a self-interested lot. To maintain a society focused upon upholding these principles is to utterly undermine a society at large, to sort out the few winners from the many losers, and to justify this heartless sorting as some form of God's Will. They say, "Thy will be done," but promote only their own will in practice. Whether God presents (him)self in the form of The Market, resides in heaven, or represents the almighty Country ('tiz of thee), it's the same self-reflection of the same pernicious presumption. God shed his grace on me, not thee, and so acts justly, always. (Suck it up, deadbeat!)

If I am not a Capitalist, Christian, or Conservative, what am I? What defines me in this society? Perhaps my silence best defines me. I'm learning that one cannot convince the totally convinced of anything they're not already consumed by. I might report that I hear a child crying only to receive in return a little sermon on the price of liberty being the enslavement of the few, or maybe even the many. The story defending such dominion deflects even the sparest humanity as somehow socialist, atheist, or liberal. I am not a Socialist, Atheist, or Liberal, though I remain a human being. I am not what I am not and also not the opposite of what I am not, but hopefully orthogonal to the whole dichotomy. I'd find the controversy laughable if it weren't so damned serious.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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