Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nightmares about the Coming Facist State

Wichita Kansas: early Sunday morning, August 8, 2009 -- I woke up in our hotel room this morning a little before 5:30 a.m. and couldn't make it back to sleep. We've been attending the Midwest Catholic Family Conference -- an annual event in Wichita that draws Catholic speakers and families from all over the world. Great event, very positive. It's exciting to hear these apologists and speakers whose names and stories I've only read about up to now. But one speaker's story has particularly affected me: Immaculee Ilibigaza -- a survivor of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Immaculee hid in a bathroom with 7 other women for weeks, while another tribe was hunting for people like her to hack them to death with machetes. At one point, a mob of 300 people entered the house where she was hidden, and despite searching the small house for 2 hours, Immaculee and the others were miraculously preserved through prayer God and spared the machete-wielding crowd. Immaculee wrote about the harrowing experience in a book entitled "Left to Tell". Although her story is an uplifting one -- full of the power of grace and forgiveness -- it has kicked off the realization within me that what happened in Rwanda *could* happen here. For westerners, the horrors that occurred in 1994 -- when Rwanda was suddenly cast into a maelstrom of violent killing and tribal genocide is nearly inexplicable. We cannot imagine that anything could cause people to suddenly rise up and begin hacking their neighbors to death as quickly as if someone threw a light switch turning otherwise normal people into raging savages bent on an orgy of murder. Actually, I guess we can imagine that -- we hear of violent murders on a daily basis, now that I think of it. No -- it's not that some people went berserk; it's that half of an entire nation did so at a moment's notice. That's the unbelievable part of this tragic story. Part of the impact of Immaculee's story on me personally has to do with the setting. It was here in Wichita several years ago that some black men abducted two couples at gunpoint and forced them to commit various sexually degrading acts, before murdering them all. I can't help but think of this horrible incident whenever I think about Wichita. Man's capacity for atrocity apparently knows no limit. (Another troubling aspect of this horrific event was the fact that the mainstream national media gave this -- like so many other black-on-white crimes -- almost no coverage, so those who do not live in the area are very likely never to have heard of this shocking crime, unlike the Rwandan genocide of course.) Anyway, so Immaculee's story has got me thinking about the ease and the quickness with which this country could descend into the same kind of ethnic and political violence. As the national debate - to the extent there even is one - continues over President Obama's alleged "healthcare reform" (read: "slide into Facism") we move ever deeper into a national morass in which the rabidly anti-life U.S. government will be able to decide who gets medical treatment and when. I recently gave an interview (really just a soundbite) to a local news station in opposition to the healthcare reform proposals, arguing that it is extremely scary to contemplate giving the U.S. government the power over who lives and dies. This will amount to the government deciding who gets catastrophic medical care, and alternatively who is instead merely giving palliative care to ease their slide into death. Healthcare administered by the same "warm and fuzzy" bureaucrats that run the IRS, if you will. Fortunately, there is a sizeable group of Americans who see the implications of handing over the routine power of life and death to this anti-Life government of radical 60's leftists. These people have been turning out to give their congressman and senators an earful in their districts -- where they are allowed to speak to their Capitol Hill masters, that is. (Some congressional office holders have moved to prevent public speaking at their appearances back home in their districts.) In other places, groups of thuggish union members and community organizations like the corrupt to the core SEIU and ACORN have actually threatened and intimidated people from speaking out at these meetings. Elsewhere, others have likened these people to the Brownshirts -- Nazi-orchestrated civilians which were used to silence dissent in pre-war Germany. Seems to me that ACORN and the SEIU fit the brownshirt description nicely. Being here in Wichita brings up better memories as well, though. Wichita was for a long time the home of Rich Mullins -- one of a very short list of men who have had a profound impact on my life and faith. Last evening after the family conference shut down, we drove over to Friends University where Rich attended and got his music degree, and nearby Newman University, whose St. Joseph Square is featured in Mullins' song, "Peace: A Communion Song from St. Joseph's Square." One of the many things that Rich said that has stuck with me, was that governments are inherently anti-life, and we should not be surprised to realize this. At one point, Rich thanked God for Richard Nixon, because he said, Nixon made it impossible for us to think that governments would ever be anything but anti-Christian and anti-life. "Democracy is not bad politics," Rich further explained. "It's just bad math." "It's the mistake that believing that a thousand corrupt minds are better than one corrupt mind." I don't think there are very many if any people out there in America today who imagine that this country could descend into the same bloody violence as what occurred in Rwanda in 1994. Surely, I must be nearly alone in fearing this. Some conservatives recognize the dangers that the Obama administration poses to our very lives, but overall the American people remain fat and happy. (I'm reminded of the line from the movie Animal House in which the dean tells the college student "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.") If that's not a perfect description for Americans in general, it's close, nonetheless. But still -- this is the stuff of nightmares that keep me from sleep, these days. God help us.