Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza is an amazing story of a young woman who survived the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Believe it or not, this woman was hidden for three months along with 7 other starving women and girls in the bathroom of a Christian pastor while gangs of killers constantly lurked around searching for new victims. A difficult and often gruesome story, but one that shows the power of the human spirit in the face of incredible suffering. A story of a woman’s faith in God, and the power of God’s grace and and a woman willing to forgive those who had murdered her family.
So how does such madness happen? Why do people, and large numbers of them, succumb to such brutal savagery and mass murder? And are we exempt from such behavior?
I choose to examine these questions in the context of our own nation’s current political climate. Perhaps the Rwanda story can offer some telling truths:
- The Rwandan genocide killed an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandan Tutsis at the hands of Rwandan Hutus.
- The genocide was caused by hatred of one group for another.
- The genocide was caused by bigotry.
- The genocide was caused by a stirring up of hatred and fear at the highest levels.
- The genocide was caused by ignorance.
- The genocide was caused by tribal intolerance.
- The genocide was caused by the lack of respect for the dignity and rights of others.
- The genocide was caused by the will to power.
- The genocide was one of a series (and by far the worst) of wars between Hutus and Tutsis.
- The genocide was supported and coordinated by the national government as well as by local military and civil officials and mass media.
- The genocide was implemented for the most part with spears, knives and machetes, not guns.
In short the genocide was the result of the depravity of man, a Biblical truth about human nature and the nature of government that our founding fathers understood, and that we would do well to recall and understand.
Can such a thing happen here in America?
Perhaps that’s the wrong question given the 600,000+ deaths this nation suffered during our own Civil War for reasons not unlike what is described above. The question is … can it happen again?
Our nation is divided more than I have ever seen it in my lifetime, and this includes the Vietnam War era. The divisions during the 1960s and early 1970s, though often violent, were the reactions against the war, and the governments policies towards that war. In the mix were extreme left wing radicals exploiting the war with many actually seeking an overthrow of the government. In any case, the divisions at that time were for the most part bi-polar, and came from forces outside the government.
Our current divisions are multi-polar, and to a large extent are created by our national government, namely President Barack Obama. Since his election campaign of 2008 he has proceeded to create or intensify a series series of enemies, beginning with George W. Bush and including: banks, insurance companies, doctors, private jet owners, Tea Party members, Republicans in the House of Representatives, Republicans in the Senate, Republicans in general, Gun owners, the NRA, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, conservatives, Catholic and other Christians holding to pro-life and pro traditional family beliefs … and I’m sure I must have left some out. In addition, the President has intensified racial divisions, and I believe has betrayed to a large extent the dream of Martin Luther King of a society where “ … people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.”I realize that some on this list are naturally in opposition, but I would argue that this opposition has been intensified under Obama to a much greater degree, and more dangerous, than in past years and eras.
Many if not most of these enemy tensions don’t lend themselves to the type of violence seen in Rwanda, or our own Civil War; the bankers and insurance companies are unlikely to go to war with anyone. At this point I don’t worry so much about mass insurrection and violence as I do about an insidious government take over and “fundamental transformation” of our republic turning it into a Soviet style collectivist nation with few freedoms or creative economic opportunities, or leaving us with a massively dysfunctional society. Top down, command driven, socialistic governments of whatever flavor, when followed to their natural completion, always fail; the concern I have over the trajectory of our current socialist leaning experiment is the destruction that it will invariably leave in its wake.
Don’t you hope I’m wrong?
I do! … But in the mean time shouldn’t we be vigilant concerning our Republic and our liberties?
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”
Don Johnson – February 2013