I am on occasion a fan of nostalgia. Somethings, however, are better left in the past. The Cold War, for instance, can be safely left in the history books. Despite that more than a few in the media, including some so-called progressives seem pretty keen on the idea of jump starting that 20th century anachronism. The bogey man of the last decade, the Islamist militant, has apparently lost his punch. A good job has been done by decent folk getting most of their fellow Americans to acknowledge that most Muslims are just like you or me, and that not being a Muslim and being white, does not mean you are immune from being a terrorist. So yay for us. What is a culture bent on defining itself by conflict to benefit a few war profiteers to do though?
Why, revive the notion that the Russians are some unknowable, unrelenting other of course. The recent conflict in Ukraine, a conflict with more than enough blame to go around on both sides with a little left over to spill over to our foreign policy, Russian foreign policy, and that of a cowardly international community unwilling to do anything but take one side or the other, has given ultra nationalists here at home something to do. It has provided them with the opportunity to rekindle an old love as it were; the love of hate.
It is easy for them to do, especially today when so much of the media is controlled by so few. Our advertisements are designed to reflect all of self-worth in terms of victory over another. Our news is designed to frighten us. War is glorified even in movies that have nothing to do with the subject. We are primed before the newest enemy du jour is revealed to us. They hook us on hate while we are young and unfortunately none of us are immune to it.
Case in point: the son of a friend came home to his mother and had less than flattering things to say about Russians. He had never learned this from his family. I know the young man in question. He is kind and thoughtful and never in a million years would I have thought that something like that would come out of his mouth. It did though and now his mother has to decide how best to undo this damage our culture has done to her kid.
Because make no mistake it is damage. I have faith that she will overcome this, and that her son will soon realize that Russians are just people too. Still that he of all people could come out and say something like this is shows just how insidious the control over us is. Again, those advertisements, the offhand comments in shows that seem irrelevant, the toys we sell kids, are all designed to make them like this. Throw in a little peer pressure and the fact that his friends’ parents sadly have also been conditioned to swallow this whole and you quickly realize none of us can escape it without taking the time to recognize it.
Maybe Russia is wrong in this, but I wonder how we would react if Canada fell into chaos like this and suddenly the Anglo population in Ontario was subject to the whims of an out of control Québécois minority. I am not taking sides on this, because that is just playing the same old game. That is exactly what it is to those who play it by the way: a game. A game played with our young, convinced by training that begins before they can even walk that they are playing too, only they are just pawns to be discarded. I know, because twenty years ago I was as eager to throw my life away to fight the “other” and I had been raised to see war for the folly it is.
So talk to your kids, and learn for yourself. Examine what they are showing us and be aware. Those that style themselves our betters want us ready to die and kill for them. Do not give them that satisfaction, do not give them your children, or yourselves.