Friday, December 03, 2004

The 100 Yards War

It's been a pretty dismal football season in the nation's capital. Our beloved Redskins and their beloved coach are suffering emabarrassing defeats nearly every Sunday. For Democrats who enjoy the game, November was the cruelest of months. For Republicans, there was solace in the election returns, but there was a visible pall over the Capitol dome nonetheless.

With so many other 'more important' things going on in the world, why does anyone care about a child's game played by millionaire neuromuscular geniuses? What is the attraction exactly?

I believe we love football - to play or to watch - because it is virtually programmed into our DNA. It appeals to both our bodies and our minds. It's both physical and cerebral. There are 4.3 forty runners, 41-inch vertical leapers and Xs-and-Os wunderkinds, all working together to play a game patterned closely after real world warfare. Capture territory, move toward the other side's sacred ground, get inside their 'end zone'.

I believe that it is in our DNA to love football, because it is clearly in our DNA to go to war, to fight for territory. Wars are about resources and resources are found on territory. Mankind will never find an end to war because we will never have a perfectly resource-balanced planet. Someone will always want what the other side has. So folks kill each other to acquire territory and the resources that reside there - drinkable water, veins of coal or gold, timber, pasture land, access to harbors or trade routes, etc. Warfare is purely and totally human.

Hence, we will never outgrow our love of football - the playful surrogate of warfare. We are genetically predisposed to liking it, because the warriors in our ancient pasts, the folks who won their wars, are the people who bred today's humans. Playing at war naturally appeals to us, just as surely as real war does.

Among the myriad pets we keep in this house is a hamster named Harry. He lives in a 3 cubic foot wire cage with a water cup, a food dish and a treadmill wheel. Although he has all the food and water he needs within easy reach, every night when our lights go out, Harry jumps on the wheel and runs to near exhaustion. He does this because his ancestors had to run around at night, when they could be safe from larger predators, to gather their food. Harry doesn't need to run for food, but his DNA orders him to. All the hamsters in his family tree ran for their food at night, so Harry keeps up the tradition, unwittingly but necessarily.

So it is with us and football. Most Ameircans don't need to fight violently for resources anymore (unless it's for oil in Iraq) but we retain the genetic love of conquest. We simply love capturing, or watching others capture, territory. It's no different than food or sex. Our ancestors loved those too and so were able to survive to breed us.

I think you could apply this same line of reasoning to soccer, field hockey, chess or most any sport. But football, because it is violent, represents warfare a little more closely – we can hear the hits, like explosions, in the stands. Whether we like this about football or loathe it, the game strikes a responsive chord deep within us.

Most intelligent folks, like most great generals, abhor violence, but there is absolutely no denying that violence resonates powerfully within us. Our reptilian brain cells light up with serotonin and electrical current when we see a war played out before our eyes – whether on CNN or ESPN, it makes no difference.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Belly of the Beast Posted by Hello

Yasser Arafat and insanity in the Arab street

Yasser Arafat's passing from the world scene begs some questions.

How can a man who looted billions of foreign aid dollars from his people; whose leadership left them desolate, living in camps and urban slums; who almost single-handed created a culture in which parents celebrate the suicides of their murderous children -- how can such a man be idolized?

Why would the president of France bow before the casket of a man responsible for the murder of more innocent Jews than anyone since Hitler?

Why, during his burial procession, would crowds rampage savagely through the streets while masked gunmen fired AK 47s above their heads?

It doesn't make sense to most Americans. It seems entirely irrational and counterintuitive. In fact, it appears insane. Because it is.

Americans will never understand the Palestinian, radical Islamist mindset, because our daily existence is not insane. Our life experience is rational and nurtures sane behavior. We don't live in camps. We aren't taught hatred in our schools, churchs and synagogues. Our parents don't celebrate the deaths of their children by suicide, in war or under any conceivable circumstance. So we look at Palestinians and other radical Islamists and say a collective "To hell with them."

Of course, it is God's job, not ours, to condemn people to Hell. And perhaps he already has. One could argue that the Palestininans are already there. And that, I think, is the point rational Americans must bear in mind. That is why happy human babies grow to become teenaged suicides bombers. They are born into Hell and have no possibility of escaping but through death. And so their parents celebrate. The misery of seeing their children struggle through a cruel and unfair existence is over. They have left the camp; they are no longer creatures of the 'Arab street'; they are with Allah.

So how, as a civilized nation and the earth's only remaining super-power, do we deal with the insanity of 'the Arab street' -- in Palestine, in Iraq and throughout the Eastern world?

Can we kill them all? Can we invade all their countries, bomb all their bunkers, sweep all their streets clean of insanely committed murderers? Certainly not. It might make for a very popular video game, but it's an immoral national policy. We are not murderers after all.

So what to do?

Round them up and jail them in a gigantic global Guantanamo? Impractical. It would take a jail the size of France. Hm-m-m... now there's an ide- ..oh, never mind.

So that leaves dealing with them civilly. Dealing with them as we would neighbors who are having a family crisis and are temporarilly out of their minds with worry or grief or anger. We would be understanding. We would be gentle and kind. We would try to bring them relief, as best we could. So too, to the Arab street.

We should work aggressively with the other civilized nations of the world -- with a new coalition of the willing -- to bring to the impoverished Eastern world human rights, democratic governments, market economies, and first-world educational opportunities, either in their home countries or abroad. America, as an economic and military super-power, should also become a Human Dignity super-power. America should lead the world in the quest for global human rights, global democracy, global market economies and global educational opportunity.

We have got it right in America. Despite the squealing of the French and the American Democratic elites, America has got it right. We have secured the fundamental rights of our people. We regularly hold elections that matter. We have an economy that works for all our citizens. And we have the most advanced educational system in the history of mankind.

We must become known to the Arab street for those traits, not just for the power of our military or the influence of our multinational corporations in their homelands. We must show them that to aspire to a better life for their people is to embrace the most important values of America: Human rights, Democracy, market economics and individual empowerment through education.

That's the America most Americans know and love. It's the America the Arab street will love too, if we can quell the violence show it to them.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Nathan Hale Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Jefferson Posted by Hello

Common sense and common decency

As it turns out, most Americans are endowed by their Creator with more than those certain inalienable rights we've heard so much about. He also gave them, as their repudiation of John Kerry's campaign for the presidency proves quite clearly, great common sense and common decency.

Most American's can spot a phony and a liar and a self-aggrandizer a mile away. They know that if a young man will lie about what he has seen in war, he will probably lie as an older man as well. They know in their gut that a guy with a billionaire heiress for a second wife, homes in all the trendiest locales, and a pampered career in politics is probably not really on the side of the little guy, no matter how loudly he protests it from his Senate office or Beacon Hill town house.

And it rubs them the wrong way when a fellow claws his way to the front of the line for an opportunity to defeat the American Commander-In-Chief during wartime.

So, when the bi-coastal elites and their foolish supplicants bemoan the results of this election, and complain with veiled conceit that the American people are too stupid to select the right man to run the country, and anguish over what the French must think of all this, they are merely proving their irrelevance to the average, good-hearted and well-intentioned Americans who, thank the Lord, still outnumber them at the polls.

The betting now opens on which elitist the Democrats will pick next time to remind Americans how bad America is and how desperately the nation needs the wiser, richer, more sophisticated leaders that party regularly offers up to help the poor, stupid citizens it claims to represent..