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Remembering Good

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Last week was a week of violence.  From Manchester to Gianforte there was a definite uptick in violence.  Lots of people are wondering why.  In Friday’s Jolt, Jim Geraghty looked at the narrative that the uptick is due to Trump:

Put Trump’s shameless misbehavior atop the mountain of bad behavior, lies, untruths, and misdeeds by societal leaders we’ve seen in the past decades. Take your pick: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” the revelation that Iraq did not have the WMD program that American intelligence expected, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, Enron, Bernie Madoff, Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby, the toxic asset derivatives and the Great Recession, the VA leaving veterans dying waiting for care, telling the grieving father of a slain Navy SEAL, “we will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted”… It has not been hard to find authority figures acting irresponsibly, abusing their authority, and escaping appropriate consequence.

How many people look at all that and ask, “if they can do it, why can’t I?”

Think about that litany that Geraghty cites.  Now add to it one other idea – “microaggressions.”  This is deeper than “if they can so can I.”  All those acts in the Geraghty litany are aggressive, not personally aggressive, but aggressive toward the commonly held standards of decency and behavior.  And if we are honest the microaggression accusation is of itself aggressive.  People are just sick and tired of getting pushed around.  It gets tiring after a while – especially when the system fails to provide the consequences it was designed to provide.

I grew very weary of hearing, in the wake of the Gianforte incident that it was “never” acceptable to resort to physical violence.  I’ll admit it is last resort and I’ll admit its use should be judicious and rare – but that’s not “never.”  Think about the great John Wayne flick “The Quiet Man.”  The entire dramatic tension of the film is a man trying to avoid a fight when he is in a situation where there is no other alternative.  I’ve not read that much about the Gianforte incident to know if he was in a situation where he had no alternative, probably not, but the use of the word “never” is pretty extreme, and part of the problem.

A week or so ago, I reminded President Trump of the story of Bob Knight.   In that post I reflected that “… the world changed around him, beginning to value nice over good, tolerance over perfection,….”  Most people know what is good and they know when good is being assaulted.  Just because it is being assaulted nicely does not mean an attack is not underway.  Most people want to defend good against that assault.  The host commented on the show Friday that the only way to deal with the Left was to ridicule them.  The problem is such ridicule is considered “microagressive” (a “nice” counter attack) leaving the person offering the ridicule hamstrung to respond without upping the level of attack somehow.  It is not surprising that violence arises sometimes – again, especially when the system does not deliver consequence for the aggression inherent in the microaggression charge..

Sometimes, unavoidably, the good must be defended by not being nice.

Which brings me to the United States military.  The military consists of very good men and women, even if what they do is not nice at all.  They are specialists at being not nice in the defense of the good.  And so committed to the task are they that some of them die being not nice in the defense of the good.  Too often we allow our desire for the nice to override the honor that is due to those that defend the good by being not nice.  When you consider the price that they pay, such is shameful.

Let’s not let this be a Memorial Day where we value the nice too much.  Let’s honor those that defend the good by being not nice.  Let’s give special and high honor to those that died doing so.


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