Printer Friendly

Have we already been defeated? (Alternative Voice).

I am terror stricken. I am having a nightmare in which the United States has been defeated, its people enslaved, its freedoms confiscated, and its citizens imprisoned within their own borders. I awaken to discover that the dream could be true.

The enemy, of course, is Hatred. And Power--even absolute power--cannot destroy Hatred. Power can only create Hatred.

Hatred killed thousands in New York City and instantly created 260 million people filled with rage and a new hatred of their own. The giant can kill terrorist leaders and those who succor them. The giant can wipe out their villages. But Hatred will find ways to obliterate our freedoms, our institutions, to extinguish our moral beacons and at last it may even destroy our cities and civilization.

Power can win the body count but it can't win this war. Because the enemy is not human. This is a war against a malicious spirit. Only fools attempt to defeat a spirit with guns and rockets and bombs. It is like blowing up the air. It is like bombing graveyards. Some have said this is a war of good against evil. But power that only begets hatred is not good, and in the end hatred becomes the most indomitable power of all.

Already the United States has committed our children to kill and be killed. Meanwhile, the enemy--Hatred--laughs, because it knows that killing on either side will bring on more hatred until, after decades, perhaps generations, the giant will have depleted itself, its coffers drained, its natural resources exhausted, its population drowned in fear and sorrow and hatred over the endless fields of dead.

I speak here of a simple proposition --one that people of power find difficult to understand because people of power understand only power. They play to an inflamed and suffering people often without asking careful questions, expressing hatred instead. Reason is out. Dissent is deemed unpatriotic. To ask a simple question like, "Why are we hated so?" cannot be answered. Justice has become confused with killing so that the more we kill in retribution, and the sooner, the more justice we are said to receive. But such justice delivers only hatred--theirs and ours.

Let us go forward to that time when the body count is over. We can see their dead and ours lined in long rows; the parts of their bodies in terrible heaps; the mangled and limbless children; the weeping, the wounded, and the wretched. No longer can we trust our neighbors. No longer can we wander safely from our own borders or move within them without fear.

Our Constitution is only a shredded memory on faded parchment. We cannot speak freely for fear we will be hated. Our civil liberties, once guaranteed under that blessed document, have given way to the exigencies of this struggle. The police have demanded that they be given more power, that they be permitted to tap our phones and search our homes without warrants. We have become prisoners with electronic tattoos. Reacting to our fear we have embraced the police who have promised to keep us safe. But we are no longer safe from them and the courts turn their heads.

That blessed ideal fundamental to any free nation--the rule of law--can no longer be heard through the racket of our rage. Hatred also hates freedom and despises the rule of law. Once the rule of law has been forfeited, like an arm severed, like a leg amputated, like a soul stripped of its sense of humanity, it can never again be called upon to protect a free people.

The goal of a free nation must be no different outside its borders than within them. In the United States we don't massacre whole towns because they may be the chosen domicile of a criminal or a conspiracy of criminals. Instead we carefully root out the felons and bring them to justice.

If we ask, indeed, to remain a free nation, we, the people, must ensure that unleashed Power--this enraged giant--doesn't itself become the most proficient, the most hideous, the most gargantuan terrorist in the history of humanity and thereby plant a crop that bears an eternal fruit of hatred.

We cannot be asked to love those who have wrought such pain and death on so many innocent people. Such love is beyond the capacity of the human organism. But through love of our system we can refuse to nourish Hatred and instead accept the greatest of challenges--indeed the greatest of opportunities--that have ever been tendered a free nation: to guide the world toward a day when we shall be free from fear and terrorism by embracing, yes, cherishing, the rule of law.

It is the majesty of the rule of law that underlies the Constitution of the United States. With it we can lead the world to freedom. Without it we are doomed to the endless pain and destruction that an unleashed Hatred will forever wage upon us. In a sane world, we can never surrender to that evil entity.

Gerry Spence is a nationally known trial lawyer, TV commentator, founder of the revolutionary Trial Lawyers College, and the author of twelve books, including his latest, Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom (St. Martin's Press, 2001). He is Wyoming bred and reared and practices in Jackson. His website is
COPYRIGHT 2002 American Humanist Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Spence, Gerald Leonard
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Previous Article:New look at "The Man without a Country". (Humanism in Literature).
Next Article:Getting started on the wrong foot. (The Culture War).

Related Articles
The Stepford pages: Get the op-ed off the assembly line.
Design competition winner The Wire reflects both strengths and weaknesses of tabloid format.
Christianity and evolutionary psychology: Introduction to special issue--part 1.
Giving a technical briefing.
Encyclopedia Americana 3.0.
Free trade in ideas.
Immunities and defenses for allegedly negligent inspections.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters