...unless the other side surrenders unconditionally, as the Allies demanded that Germany and Japan do in WWII. No negotiations; total, abject and unconditional surrender, accompanied by the utter devastation of their countries and populations.
Activists, including protesters, violent and nonviolent, jihadists, and people who take “us vs. them” political and economic stands, will also settle for no less.
Pause for thought: I want to hear from everyone, activists on all sides, moderates, even the apathetic, before I settle in on what I believe to be right. And even then I don’t believe that I am coming down from a mountain with stone tablets written by God.
Why? Is is because activists really believe that the world would be a better place if and only if 100% of what they believe is right is implemented? As the Allies correctly did in WWII? No. It is because being an “I’m Right” activist is the way they see themselves, their lifestyles; it is their raison d’être. This is what is what really is at stake for them.
Let’s start with an easy example. Peace efforts in the Middle East are frequently sabotaged. Why? Doesn’t everyone want peace? No, activists don’t. If there was peace, they would no longer have a special place in their society. Instead of being in charge of a small or large group of fellow activists, thereby earning their version of respect and honor, while likely being supported by a larger, activist organization, they would be working in a restaurant, or doing electrical work–something no doubt more mundane. And they totally miss the point that real respect, if not glory, goes to those who show up everyday, adding value to the world by working and taking care of their family and friends.
Closer to home, what about race activists? Their anger at the deaths of innocent young black men focuses exclusively on their claims about racism causing deaths of black men at the hands of white cops. When they found that in some cases it was black officers shooting black citizens, their color criticism changed from “white” to “blue.” In other words, they pivoted from racist cops being the issue to a police in general being the problem. But their activism conveniently ignores the 95+% of black deaths that are not caused by police. We’ll ignore for now the argument that the vast majority of the 5% are completely justified. We don’t need to make that case to make our point here.
I am deeply suspicious of their motives, and you should be, too. If they want to stop the killing of innocents, why ignore 95% of the problem? Let’s look at an obvious parallel. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) strikes predominantly African-Americans, with about 8% of the African-American population carrying the sickle cell trait. If an organization raised, say, $100M, to find a cure and spent 95% of its funds looking for causes for SCD outside of the African-American population, would you say they were dedicated to finding a cure? Or might they have another motive?
It is comparatively easy to march, protest, shout across the street and take a stand in front of cameras. This approach results in headlines, praise from your comrades, and a certain measure of respect and dignity from within their community. All while addressing 5%–or less–of the problem.
It is much harder to tackle the other 95%. This requires far more than a march or a TV interview. It would take years of working in those communities. Listening. Encouraging. Being ignored and ridiculed. Working with people one-on-one over years and years. Few–and fleeting–headlines. S-l-o-w progress initially. But increasing progress over time. And that is exactly how things get fixed in a way that they stay fixed.
This is what we are all called to do in the various parts of our lives. We are not called to satisfy ourselves or to make us look good. We are called to get the job done. Not to be right or to “win.” But to get the job done. To dig in. Find our respect in the eyes of people who understand what is going on. Find glory in the eyes of our God.
What are you called to do? Please share that in the comments. I’d like to hear. As would others. I am called, in part, to create an excellent, engaging and motivating blog site. Followed by a book or books. I am clearly on a mission here.
Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.