Sometimes I really don’t like reading the news simply because it causes me a bit of distress in wondering why people embrace barbarism in all its forms. The mental and physical abuse going on all over the world, as well as the senseless killing of innocent people simply because they don’t share exactly the same religious beliefs is beyond my understanding. I’m convinced much of these brutal acts are committed under the guise of religion, but in fact they are done with far different motives than creating a society of like followers of a faith.
Hitler was a master in getting people to believe he was simply on a path to make Germany more powerful by fanning the fears of the average German citizen into believing that non-German people were at the heart of conspiring against the building of a better Fatherland. As the years of propaganda continued, the average German became totally convinced Hitler was on a true and righteous path. We all know the rest of the story.
If anyone has followed how ISIS is plastering the internet with their forms of propaganda in recruiting young people to become part of a noble cause, we see again how easy it is to fill the minds of the naive and dis-enchanted young people to become blinded by the brutality that’s really going on in the Middle East. It rings so much of what happened during the time of the Crusades when Europeans were called upon to conquer holy sites in the middle east and guard them against the demon infidels. The glamour of it all was to be part of some exotic far away cause where the impressionable youths were duped into believing ideas completely opposite of the truth.
I speak of these things as a reminder for us to keep out minds open when encountering people whose differences may be cultural or religious. Simply because there are people who don’t pray to the same God if any, or dress differently, or even abstain from eating foods that we do, we have no right to believe ourselves better or worse than them—we are simply different. If people are given the same opportunities within a society and follow all the laws of true democratic governments, then they have the right to follow whatever cultural and religious beliefs they choose within a given society’s lawful standards. When we start making laws too restrictive, we create backlashes of increased lawlessness.
We must not forget what happened when Prohibition came into effect. There were whiskey and rum runners making millions as well as an increase in organized crime. Easy money oft times comes in dark ways as by-products of silly laws. By the time Prohibition was over, there were groups of very powerful people who made a great deal of money from their illicit business activities. History does repeat itself over and over again.
Every day I give thanks for being a citizen of our country, for being an Iowan, and most of all for being a long-term resident of Mason City. Yes, we have our problems, and sometimes I consider them chronic, but to imagine living in those troubled areas of our country and the world, I simply say, “No Thanks!” Let them make jokes about us living up on the top of Iowa, but I would by far live here at world’s end than anywhere else.