Friday, May 14, 2010

Invasion of the mounties

Imagine this hypothetical situation, if you will.

What if our neighbors to the north, "Oh, Canada..." began to experience a maple syrup shortage. Now we're all aware of Canada's dependence upon maple sugar, their economic survival depends upon an un-interrupted maple sugar flow. Sure, prices at the grocery store fluctuate over time but bottles and bottles of maple syrup are always available in the "maple syrup" aisle. But we all know that hockey players burn a lot of calories, so they need a lot of maple syrup. And if their supply began to run low, as this hypothetical proposes, they'd need to look elsewhere for maple syrup supplies.

This supply would make the average Canadian lumberjack very angry, they wouldn't like standing in long lines and paying way-t00-high prices at the check-out aisle, so they'd complain to the government. What if the Canadian government responded by sending a platoon of Mounties across the border and down into Michigan. Now we all know that with the coming of Rich Rodriguez and the spread offense to Michigan, those Wolverines have no fight left in them at all. So the Mounties would have no problem taking over Michigan, placing their favorite governor in office (even asinating the old one if necessary), realigning the county and city governments to make it easier to extract and export maple syrup. If the residents of the Bucknut state began to revolt against the Mounties, the Canadian government would just train the local Michiganders to fight the Bucknuts. Of course, if the Canadian government didn't like how their favorite governor was using this new training, they'd just asinate him and bring in another governor.

But eventually, Michigan wouldn't be enough land area to supply the growing Canadian economy, so the Mounties would be sent further south and west, leading them right into my town of Gardner, KS. But the problem with Kansas is that there aren't as many maple syrup trees, so the mounties would need to control more area. But those horses are tough and who are we Jayhawkers to stop them, so they just convert massive areas of Kansas to "Mountie camps," places where the men can rest and be re-supplied and the horses can graze.

Unfortunately for us Kansans, though the Canadian government has determined that Mountie camps need to be located near the maple tree forests but those forests just so happen to be located near our most holy of sites; Allen field house, the world's largest ball of twine, the beautiful flint hills and the Global Ministries Center of the Church of the Nazarene. But because Mounties are tougher than Jayhawks, we'd be powerless to stop them. They'd set up their camps wherever they want. And if local Kansans rebelled against Canadians enforcing their economic policies, they'd send in a surge of Mounties to trample all who stand in their way. While those trample-sessions did eliminate a lot of "bad guys," they also took out a few innocent bystanders.

What if one of those innocent bystanders was my neighbor's 7 year old son? Here's my poor neighbor; is government is (at least partly) placed there by Canadians, he can't go to the GMC anymore to pay his "tithe plus 3%" to the COTN and he can't even watch the Jayhawks at Allen Field house anymore - all of which has caused his family business to collapse, plunging his family into poverty. He can live with that, but he can't live with the Mounties killing his son and calling it "collateral damage in the effort to protect the Canadian way of life."

So my neighbor may very well decide he's had enough, so he drives up north to the largest supermarket in Toronto and attempt an act of terrorism in the maple syrup aisle. Thankfully, some good-hearted law enforcement officials in Canada would smell that Kansas from a mile away (his Nick Collison jersey being another clue) and stop the act before it could be completed.

Well, this would seriously, and justifiably anger all Canadians. They would demand that the government use a special force of mounties to eliminate all people in Kansas like my neighbor. So the mounties would march into Kansas with an even larger force than the occupation force already in Kansas and when my neighbor refuses to come out of his house, they'd launch a bunch of hockey pucks into his house to make sure he never did such a terrible thing again.

Canadians would cheer the action. The man who shot the hockey pucks would believe he's protecting his family - and in a way, he'd be right. But the average Canadian, even the guy firing the pucks, would be completely unaware of the actions of their own government that prompted my neighbor to attempt such a terrible and evil thing. Most Canadians are good, honest, hard-working people. They serve their community, serve their church, love their family, participate in lumber-jack Olympics and watch 12 on 12 Canadian football with it's 20 yard end zones. All the while completely unaware of how the actions of their very own government was resulting in the oppression and exploitation of under-resourced Kansans and the terrible act of violence committed by my neighbor. They don't buy maple syrup thinking "I'm helping promote a system of oppression and exploitation created by our government, business and market forces." Nope, they're just putting maple syrup on their apple-wood pancakes. They aren't aware of politicians who believe Canada has a right to control the best maple syrup producing areas of the world - even if they're in another country, they're just buying maple syrup.

Unfortunately, hockey pucks aren't always completely accurate and one of them might miss my neighbor's house and land in my son's bedroom, killing my only son. What would that do to me? Honestly, I don't know. I love my son more than life itself and can't imagine how I'd respond. I'm pretty sure I'd be really mad at the Canadians, though.

Or what if that puck flew into my bedroom, killing my wife and me, causing my son to grow up as an orphan? Do you think he'd grow up loving and respecting Canada? Nope, probably not. He might even join the group that influenced my neighbor to blow up Toronto's maple syrup aisle so he could eventually get revenge upon Canada. My son might very well commit a terrible act of his own to protest the presence of Mounties in his native state, resulting in his own house being blown up. But by then, Canada could launch the hockey pucks via satellite, calling them "drones" and bragging that no Canadian goalies risked their lives taking out evil people like my son.

And the system of violence and economic oppression would continue throughout the generations. The only thing to stop this cycle would be 1) Canada finding a substitute for the maple syrup in Kansas 2) Canadians educating themselves on how Canadian policies effect the weak and poor in Kansas or 3) A Roman-esq collapse of the mighty Canadian empire brought on by the spending of trillions of dollars to support the Mountie presence in Kansas. Kansas could take heart in the fact that one day one of those scenarios will become a reality.

"He who lives by the sword dies by the sword." - Jesus

Any connection between the above hypothetical story and the recent terrorism attempt of a Pakestinian/American citizen and the US dropping bombs on insurgent targets in Pakistan is completely coincidental.

“The US cannot win the war on terrorism unless we confront the social and political roots of poverty. It’s very hard to be angry with someone who just fed you, it’s very hard to want to drop a bomb on someone who just built you a village. No nation, no matter how powerful it is, will ever be safe until it has dealt with ‘economic desperation.’” - Colin Powell

I once preached a sermon along these lines, it was from Revelation 17-19 and entitled "The Fall of Babylon." If you were so inclined, you could read or listen to that sermon here.

4 comments:

Rachel Shaffer said...

ignorance isn't bliss! We in America have no idea sometimes. although every time I actually dig into why something is happening in opposition to America, I get so depressed. It's so easy to want to swallow the crap we believe about ourselves sometimes. Good analogy and great quote from Powell. I'm going to use it if you don't mind.

Donnie Miller said...

It is easy to get depressed, because it's painful to have the images of "the last great hope of the world" dashed.
However, it's good to realize we're just like every other nation - a lot of good, a lot of bad, we're simply human.

The reason I post things like this and what I hope would happen in the thinking of most Americans, is to get rid of the "good guys - bad guys" mentality that exists. Obviously, we've all got some good and we've all got some bad. Terrorists do terrible things but they don't do it in a vacuum, we do terrible things, too.

What I really want is honest dialogue, I want people to go past the "black/white" ways of thinking or "us vs. them" or whatever simple-minded, feel-good rhetoric politicians (and then citizens) use to defend war. It's not as simple as "they're bad and we're good." That's the type of rhetoric Bush used after 9/11 and we've still bought into that way of thinking.

Yes, 9/11 was TERRIBLE and EVIL and there's no justification of it. However, if we didn't believe it was our job to control the middle east through military and economic controls, there wouldn't be a group of impoverished people willing to give their lives to kill innocent Americans.

But, I think I'm asking too much for the average citizen to realize these things, so I'm just frustrating myself.

Zachary said...

Wow… truly thought provoking! I truly believe that violence just creates more violence; after all we just keep feeding the cycle as a country. They hit us, we hit them back harder…they hit us again harder… and we unleash a fury upon them. I agree that we will not end the cycle of violence pursuing the direction we are currently heading. I have seen firsthand what the situation is like over in the Middle East, and it’s not pretty. But I can honestly say that I could be driven to do violent things if my family and community were attacked, and that honestly is what I did. I joined the military one month after 9/11, why because a few people decided to commit an absolutely horrible and deadly attack on “MY” country. And our response was to go and attack “their” country (or at least attempt to get at those responsible for the acts of terror). I became infused with a form of patriotic zeal mixed with a desire to fight for God (which is absolutely absurd and I didn’t even notice until much later). I truly believed I was on the side of good and the side that God was blessing. However I was so lost in it all that I didn’t even take the teaching of Jesus into consideration. I literally would pray every day while serving overseas that God would bless what we were doing and keep us safe and that God would destroy the enemy. But honestly who was the enemy? What kind of Christian was I? To be a Christian literally means to be someone who follows Jesus Christ, but where was Christ in what I was doing. I was quite honestly doing the exact opposite of what Jesus commanded! But where does that leave me? What might our best option be in the current situation? Violence is not the answer! Let me echo your quotation from Colin Powell. I don’t believe that America is a “Christian Nation,” but I pray that America could be influenced by Jesus through his Body the Church, not by the Church joining into the violent cycle, and but by the Church being the Church, a reflection of the self-sacrificing savior we follow! It’s not easy, but since when has following Christ ever been easy? If it’s easy then we are probably not really following Him very well. Because no, it’s not easy to love our enemies! No, it’s not easy to value our enemy’s lives as much as our own! No, it’s not easy to turn the other cheek! But this is just what we are called to do.

Nate said...

"You cannot give peace a chance if that is all you give a chance. You have to do the things that make peace possible and actual. When you listen to people talk about peace, you soon realize in most cases that they are unwilling to deal with the conditions of society and soul that make strife inevitable. They want to keep them and still have peace, but it is peace on their terms, which is impossible." -Dallas Willard