Friday, September 26, 2008

Tolkien and Today

I know, I know. I go on these spurts where I don't write for awhile.

This blog is not so much about me, as it is about how I perceive the world around me. A minor distinction, to be sure, but an important one.

You see, lately I haven't liked what I've been seeing.

Personally, my life is going really, really well. I love where I work. I love where I live. I love what I do. My life is good. But my country...

My country is sick, and it's dying. All that I love and hold dear about America is either dead, or in its last feeble gasps. HG Wells once said that civilization is a race between education and catastrophe. I fear education has lost the race.

So it's been hard to write. Hard to say what I've been thinking. I try to find wry amusement in it, but it's getting harder to find a reason to smile about where we are, and where we're headed.

Every few years I re-read JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and each time I find wonders anew. The sword and sorcery tale I loved as a kid takes on new depths and meaning every time. I recently did this (I was sick for a couple of days). And there was something about it chewing at me. Something that I couldn't quite place. And today it hit me.

The true reason I love this tale is because it's about right and wrong. It's about why you fight evil.

Lord of the Rings is not a fun time, where the good guys always win and never fall. It's not a tale where the hero always makes the right choices, and knows what to do at every turn. It's a story of people trying to do the right thing, trying to fight evil as best they can. The darkness is winning. Defeat for good is all but inevitable, and yet they fight on. Some out of despair, some clinging to hope, but still they fight on. For one simple reason: Evil must be fought.

There is no good character in the story that honestly expects to win over evil (except some of the more foolish side characters, perhaps). They expect to lose. And at the end of the story, it's not truly a happy ending. Things are not the same, can never return to the way they were. But they fight on, regardless, because Evil must be fought.

Evil is with us today. It does not take the form of Wraiths and Goblins, but Ignorance and Self-Centeredness. Every evil is perpetuated in the name of good, by people who either know no better, or are so wrapped up in themselves they feel superior to all others, enough so to inflict their choices upon us all. Evil takes the form of one more government program funded by stealing from citizens. Evil takes the form of one more right, one more liberty stolen away from us in the name of security. Evil takes the form of every person dedicated to bending others to their will by force. This is the Evil of Osama Bin Laden, but it is also the Evil of George W. Bush. And Evil must be fought.

Our congress looks set to pass a bill that has less than 7% approval, a bill certain to destroy the dollar faster than anything ever attempted. If this happens, there is nobody left who can say with any degree of legitimacy that our government has a shred of "of the people, by the people, and for the people" left in it. Our wonderful News Media gleefully reported at noon that this socialist nightmare of a bill was all but certain to be passed.

Our President ignores the Constitution.
Our Congress ignores the Constitution.
Our Judicial branch "interprets" the Constitution. Which is to say, ignores it whenever convenient.

We are tearing away the last vestiges of Republic, ironically at the very moment that our Empire is about to collapse.

And everybody is giving up. I know many people that do not want to know how bad it is, because they don't want to acknowledge where we are, and where we're headed. I was on the verge of giving up, myself. I can't win this fight. I can't change our government. If there is a person out there with the connections, the charisma, and the opportunity to make a difference - that person is not me.

But I am today reminded - Evil must be fought. Not because you expect to win. Not because you expect to change the world. But because it is what good men do. For every good man that fails, one, or two, or ten thousand are inspired to try again.

I fear we have lost our country. Lost it to greed, and ignorance, and self-centeredness. But I will fight for it. Because Evil must be fought.

So I will still call upon the congressmen who don't listen to me. I will vote for people I respect, who won't be allowed to win. I will write blogs in the hopes of having even one person wake up and tear off the veil that has been put over their eyes. And if none of this bears any fruit, I will have fought Evil. Because that is what good men do.

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