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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Enemy

Labeling someone else--or a group of "someone elses"--as "The Enemy" is a very powerful tactic. It makes things black and white, cut and dried, and a point of fact.

And as a matter of fact, others are very, very wrong at times.

But they see themselves as absolutely right, and you as very, very wrong. And we know this is true. For example, the best villains always have a very compelling reason for doing what they are doing. They, while we recognize their error, firmly believe they doing the right thing.

So how do two people (or groups) who are ideologically 180° from each other get anywhere? This is, I think, the fundamental question that--until answered--leaves us with things like opposing political parties and varying religious views (or lackthereof). This reality is one of the primary reasons we can't just "live and let live"... because, in many cases, doing so would be detrimental to others whom we care about. For instance: Pro-choicers believe that letting Pro-lifers have their way will end up killing women and has little to do with babies. Pro-lifers, on the other hand, believe that letting Pro-choicers have their way kills babies and has little to do with women. That's radically different and there is very little room for "common ground" here.

Another example of "The Enemy" mindset that I saw again and again today was The Department of Homeland Security's latest "report" that labels "those that [reject] federal authority in favor of state or local authority" as, at the very least, potential terrorists (bottom of Page 2 of 9).


I couldn't find a link to the .pdf from the Department of Homeland Security's site, but I did find this note. So, perhaps those "rightwing extremists" are over-reacting a tad to what is not much more than a very poor choice of words... perhaps.

This "Enemy" mentality has been brewing in various areas of the homeschool movement as well.

So what should we--as rational, intelligent, educated, truly caring people--do in these kinds of situations? Broadly labeling everyone of the other side as "The Enemy"--as the DHS appears to have inadvertently done--is not the way to go.

But what is? Because, as rational, intelligent, educated, and truly caring people, we can't do nothing.

Can we?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Kim & Dave said...

AMEN, Luke!!!

Melonie said...

You're right - we can't do nothing. But the question is: what CAN we do?

I'm afraid I don't have an answer to that one yet myself. In my situation I can do even less than the average citizen without concern for my family or my hubby's career. Love how *that* works. ;-)

The Hibbard Family said...

My husband found the .pdf. I think he linked it on his blog - if you're interested.

Meanwhile, I can't help but think of the movie Twelve Angry Men and the way patient persuasiveness prevailed over "The Enemy" in that movie. From a spiritual perspective, this verse stood out to me this morning...

The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Prov 16:21

"The Enemy" standpoint just increases animosity, like you said. The "God is love so we should alway be loving and accepting of others" mentality doesn't accomplish anything either. But, Scripture's perspective is a wisdom that knows we have the right way and uses sweetness of speech and patient persuasiveness to influence the opposite camp.

Easier said than done, I know all too well, but I think that has to be our method. That would set us apart from "The Enemy," that's for sure!

chapman55k said...

Hmmm... The issue of absolute vs. relative truth plays into this, too. If truth is what one choses to believe then that can either soften or harden the chooser in their convictions. I think of a famous professor and author of popular books on the historicity of Jesus from Oregon State University who said something to the effect that, because it didn't "feel" right, he decided to believe that Christianity was not the only true religion. He now uses that as a sledge hammer to beat the uninformed masses. God post, again.

Luke Holzmann said...

Thanks for jumping in, everyone. I'm going to continue the discussion today... so stay tuned, and I hope I get more of your insights tomorrow <smile>.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Your link is off on the "page 2 of 9" thing. It's... weird.

Luke Holzmann said...

Gah! That's because they removed the .pdf that was there.


Bad form, people. Bad form!

Sorry. You can google the document now, but I no longer have a link. <pout>


Heather the Mama Duk said...

Excellent post. My husband works for DHS. We're amused that he could be on their "list." Especially since he works at the place where the "lists" are kept lol

Luke Holzmann said...

Heather, that... is... HYSTERICAL! <laughing> Love it.



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