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On Hate And War

First Posted: Feb. 14, 2016, 11:31 p.m. CST
Last Updated: Feb. 14, 2016, 11:31 p.m. CST
Why is it for some the leap from complacency to hate, forgoing grief, such an easy leap? We gladly trample over compassion happily singing the song of angry men. We stand over the dead, and blindly hurl epithets of ignorance and hate while their blood still warm and sticky congeal on the streets.

Why is it for some the leap from complacency to hate, forgoing grief, such an easy leap? We gladly trample over compassion happily singing the song of angry men. We stand over the dead, and blindly hurl epithets of ignorance and hate while their blood still warm and sticky congeal on the streets. We rush into the fray armed with our arsenal of half-truths, superstition and prejudice. I say ‘we’ because I include myself in that unsavory group. I am always catching myself and reminding myself that I am better than that. And sometimes I am not.

Compassion. Mercy. Forgiveness. We like to throw those words around like the good Christians we are. But these are words easier said than done. We like to talk of Christian charity and compassion; of divine grace and mercy; of forgiveness. But when we see that man at the corner begging for change – is it mercy or compassion we greet him with? When that young woman walks into the abortion clinic, is that divine grace hard etched into our faces? Is it forgiveness that burns in our heart?

The glory of war. Hands bathed in the spilt bowels of our fellow man, the endless terrors, of nightmares with your eyes open, and the petechial staining of faces burned into the back of your eyeballs that you can never scrub clean. That is the glory of war. We forget too often that heroes are not the only thing wars produce, and that war produces far more victims than it does heroes. AND sometimes doing the right thing does not always bring glory and fame. Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Ira Hayes, Lincoln, and the Kennedys. Sometimes doing the right thing brings unpleasant consequences where your only reward is the quiet realization you take to your grave.

We wage our wars for unbending principles and uncompromising values. And in the end, after we have slain our young with patriotic fervor and opulent waste, our elders, who mortgaged our futures with lies and think our humanity is up for auction, will, in the end agree to a compromise over thirty gold pieces. AND both sides shall declare a victory.

Out of apathy and convenience we no longer draw from our own experiences and let other define our reality. Long gone is the “greatest generation’ and the bond drives, and stories of Rosy the riveter and rationing and sacrificing. Instead, movies like ‘Lone Survivor,’ and ‘American Sniper’ become our definition of war, and endless debt and empty consumerism is our ‘patriotic duty.’ We have come to believe that ‘coming home’ is the end of the story, the end of the crucible, the happy ending to our romanticized Hemmingway fairy tale vision of war: an enemy vanquished and the hero home from the war. We celebrate holidays with sales at Macy’s and blow out prices at the local Honda dealership. A family outing is a trip to the mall.

Whilst all the maimed, the broken, the widows, the orphans and the bankrupted by this great patriotic endeavor shall be pushed to the periphery of society to shuffle as shadows, outside gated communities, condemned by war profiteers for their undeserved entitlements. The broken and the maimed meander home; hobbling like jabberwockies, our own Frankenstein monster begging for scraps at the street corners of a grateful nation.

He who does not weep is blind to the folly of war.



This article was written by Joaquin Rafael Roces. Joaquin is a Marine Corps Veteran, is active in his faith community, and has served as a Eucharistic Minister and Religious Education Instructor for over 15 years. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and recently became involved in the parish’s Youth Ministry. He has a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Borderline Personality Disorder and has been in recovery for three years. In 2015 Joaquin was trained by the National Alliance for Mental Illness to be an In Our Own Voice Presenter. Joaquin travels throughout Northern Nevada working with NAMI to change attitudes, assumptions and stereotypes by describing the reality of living with mental illness and sharing his recovery story. Through the In Our Own Voice presentations, people with lived experience with mental illness share their powerful personal stories. An autobiographical quote: "In my youth, chased dragon flies as they danced through sunbeams. I found myself lost in the dark woods. Some where between Gethsemane and Calvary, I lost my way. I was a man lost between two stations, who I was and who I should be. In that journey, I was many things, and I was not always honorable, certainly not dignified. As a bull rider, I never won a rodeo or a jackpot. I never walked away with sparkly spurs and a polished buckle. But what I did do is that everytime I was bucked off and ended up with a face full of dirt I got up again. And again. And again. My friends call me Scar because I carry on my person the scars of my folly. Wounds and scars from the Marines, rock climbing, bull ridings, snowboarding and skate boarding. Life is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well perserved body. As Hunter Thompson declared one should skid in broadside in a cloud of dust and smoke, completely spent, and totally worn out. Life is not a spectator sport, you don't watch it from the sidelines or the bleachers. It is a contact sport. Get your feet wet, your nose bloodied and your hands dirty. That's who I am. I get a kick out of life, even if it's a kick in the teeth." --Joaquin Rafael Roces

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