Monday, June 04, 2007

Que Imperial March

From Alter:
But what does that aim have to do with permanent bases? The only two reasons to station troops in the Middle East for half a century are protecting oil supplies (reflecting a pessimistic view of energy independence) outside the normal channels of trade and diplomacy, and projecting raw military power. These are the imperial aims of an empire.
This has got to stop.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Where We Are Now, or a Giant Wall of Text Crits You for 4373845 Damage!

I'm planning a strategic redeployment from everything I've ever wanted for myself.

I've been on a path toward political office off and on since high school. If you asked me if I planned to run for office, my answer had been "yes" as late as this past Sunday. But at the beginning of this week, I found myself unable to keep forcing my convictions to stay inside the boundary lines of my personal ambitions.

I have felt a sense of expectation around me from my friends, family and community my whole life. The words "to whom much is given, much is expected" have rattled around my head in various forms since third grade. I cannot remember ever having been free of a sense of responsibility to live up to...something...tied to the gifts God gave me. Everyone looks up to the President when they are kids (how can they not...we drill that into kids pretty early, complete with a loyalty pledge led by the nice elementary school teacher lady at the tender age of five, when we have no idea what we're actually saying), and that image stuck. Achieving the heights of political office became the Holy Grail of Meeting Expectations, and I have fought and scraped to position, to learn, to ascend inside the ranks of professional staffdom during my short career so far with the idea that I was Getting Ready.

Getting ready for what, though?

Every week in this job, almost without fail, I send out at least one pitch email to reporters criticizing President Bush's Iraq policy and his pursuit of the War on Terror (TM). But the following line that flies from my fingers so easily is the one that has stuck in my mind like a knife, like an accusing finger. It always contains some variation of "a better, smarter strategy to fight terrorists."

As you might have guessed if you have read any of my posts (chances are not large that you have...I'm not Kos), I am an adherent of Christian nonviolence. I believe that violence has been proscribed in every instance by the teachings of Jesus Christ. But that conviction runs right into, every week, a calculus that I email out to reporters, to everyone that reads anything these reporters write based on my pitches, that in effect argues not for turning away from violence, but for different, "smarter," more effective violence.

This is being a little simplistic about the messages I send, but you get the basic idea.

I can't do it. I can't become this person. I look down the road of political campaigning and office, and I see looking back at me an absolute villain. I see a person who thinks he's doing what's best for the people, fighting for a mythical Greater Good with the lives of other people's kids, moving them around like Risk pieces. And make no mistake, no one who will stand up and tell people that serving in the military is immoral, that killing even for self-defense is against the teachings of Jesus, will ever muster the votes to win any federal, state, or possibly even local office in any arena I could hope to run in. The offices that are open are too small for my ambition, and the ones that would satisfy my drive are closed to me as long as I act out my beliefs.

So I have a choice. I can either make piece with losing my integrity, my convictions, and my soul, or I can walk away from my entire vision of myself and my future.

Goodbye future. Hello uncertainty.

I plan to finish out this job while L. finishes grad school, and then I'm out. I have no idea what's next. But it certainly doesn't involve being a happy cog in the machinery of murder.

Back Online

Coming back online after a long hiatus. Stay tuned.

Right now I'm reading Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf. I highly recommend. I'll blog more about it later.