I had something else planned for today, but something came up off line that reminded to say something about the Conditions of Warfare we’re in.
Underneath the hotel I always stayed in Bulgaria is an (unlicensed) Buddha Bar, where the music blared on until about 3-4 AM daily. But some of it was unique and interesting, so much so, I wanted a copy and was willing to pay for it. So, next morning I went around to ask about it. I walked in, of course no one was there but a bartender and a boss. I say “Excuse me but I was wondering…” “Get out of my bar, you steenking f****ing Amerikan!” (At least I knew they were Russian, wasn’t sure.)
Don’t you just hate when people do that to you? When a total stranger comes up to you, looks you up and down, and then says “I hate you. I hope you die.” Kinda knocks you down, huh? Only in New York do people have ready replies for such a sudden insult. It’s the worst form of assault, to have a person you’ve never met suddenly walk up and call you a Bigot, Racist, or Greedy Pig, whatever, you name it.
Actually it’s the second worst, as the worst is peeping over the rim of your foxhole and shooting at that perfect stranger 200 yards away, peeping back at you from over the top of his foxhole. And that’s the point.
What this is, is war..without guns..being waged against you. Us. They are no longer inhibited by social conventions. They are emboldened and will do this now, without qualm, guilt or shame. And while it was always your (our) desire to live in a live-and-let-live world, they are not. And they don’t believe they have to anymore. They, not you, have announced the stakes of this war.
We often speak of rules of engagement here, but from time to time we need to be reminded what the underlying Terms of Warfare are: THEY HATE YOU BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE. THEY HATE YOU BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU STAND FOR. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s nothing you said. Nothing you did. Just who you are.
Get used to it. Go to your closet and learn to deal with it.
I also know what your first knee jerk reaction is.
Remember, you are innocent, and I don’t just mean innocent as a baby is innocent, although many of them hated you even then. You are innocent of their accusations. If you believe in God, the leftists hate you. If you believe in Jesus or Abraham the radical Islamists hate you. If you believe in free will, or liberty, or the Constitution, they both hate you. And sadly of late, if you are white, many of them hate you as well.
These are the Rules for Innocents:
No. 1: Don’t apologize. That’s what they want you to do, apologize for having done absolutely nothing to them. This gives them power over you. They’re trained to work this angle first, for they can see an apology coming from your facial expression a long time before you ever deliver it. The GOP, top to bottom, is so bad at this, they have pre-written apology cards all ready to stuff in envelopes when they are accused.
No. 2: Don’t defend. There is an old legal axiom that when someone accuses you of a crime, it can be used as evidence if you don’t immediately and vocally protest your innocence. This is not true when someone accuses you of merely breathing. Or of racism, which immediately sends the GOP off to their solatium chest and printed “Gomen Nasai” note cards. This is Rush Limbaugh’s weakest point, for he always says “I did not” when the accusation is as bald-faced as saying the moon is green cheese. He probably learned that as a kid in fourth grade and just can’t get out from under it, but because of it he always misses out on an easy 3-step slice and dice that can have his accuser hanging himself in about thirty seconds.
No. 3: Don’t retreat…especially with your eyes and facial expression. Controlled rage works best. It really puts them off. Not what they expected. Now, this is where the innocent innocents need to practice. You’re never prepared for these insults, but you have 1-2 seconds after the accusation to turn the tables, and you will do it best with a few short (clipped) words, a retort, and eyes that are on fire. You have been insulted. Act that way. You have a right to be outraged. You have a right to demand an explanation or an apology. You won’t get one, I promise, but you will “shift the weight of proof” from you back to your accuser almost as suddenly as if a judge had just brought the gavel down. They are generally not expecting that. I have a South African (Afrikaner) lady friend who has an “I beg your pardon” that has been known to curl Traveller’s mane on the Lee statue on Monument Avenue. Her steely voice can peel paint. I’ve seen it.
No. 4: Don’t get angry. You’ve heard me say this before, you should never get angry at dogs for being dogs. In fact, a little Christian charity underneath that outrage helps. Some of these people, you could bump into at Krogers and strike up a conversation. Or at the Y. With them it’s all about turf. When they have their “activist” clothes on, or, as with many angry white or black office workers, if you are in a position of power, you’re a racist or a capitalist. If you are a peer and offer a suggestion as to a better way to do a thing…you’re a racist.
Ignore this. They are all conditioned to see these things the way they do, feel they way they do and say the things they do. They may as well be Axis Sally on the radio reading a script. You can’t undo any of this because you had nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do in their creation. You are innocent.
Just remember, at one level of another they are all soldiers, trained by a power that is over them which they neither wholly invited, can explain, or can control. They can’t help it. They will come and they will go. Let God sort that out. But some will stay on and try to ride it out until the bitter end. So you may yet meet them again. With that I offer this parting advice.
I know a man in Jersey whose nephew I helped in Arizona in 1977. Actually Vegas. He owes me but I have never collected on that debt. (Never intend to.) We see one another usually once every three years or so. I’ve been to his house three times (which means I’m on an FBI tape somewhere.) He’s an interesting man, filled with insights about his “business” and looks just like Chazz Palminteri. Really. He likes me. He explained it to me this way, some years ago, “If you’re gonna do business, do business. It’s just not good business to shoot a man out of anger.”
Don’t ever fight in anger. It isn’t seemly.