No Question, It’s Personal

joe —  Sat 15-Jan-11

Dear Martin,

MLK.pngI was thinking about you this past week, being your birthday and all and wanted to thank you for one of the many great life lessons you taught me.

You once wrote

The nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding…The nonviolent resister seeks to attack the evil system rather than individuals who happen to be caught up in the system.

While I love the concept and try very hard to incorporate it into my life, it has been a struggle. I still fail often despite my best intentions.

The problem is that it is so much easier to muster up the energy to fight a bad idea when I can put an enemy in front of it. Hating an idea is so much easier when I can see Glenn Beck or Bill Maher’s face. It’s personal then and when it gets personal I have more fight in me.

Heck, just this week I heard Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets talk about his upcoming game against the New England Patriots

Jets vs Patriots.png

“This is about Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan. There’s no question it’s personal.”

Of course I think Rex is a big wind-bag and would enjoy nothing more than to see the look on his face after getting clobbered by anyone. Ooops – best intentions be damned.

I was wondering what talk radio would be like if they weren’t allowed to disclose names but only ideas. How popular do you think Sean Hannity would be without Nancy Pelosi or Alan Colmes without Dick Cheney?

Dr Evil.pngAt my last company we always seemed to rise to greater heights when the CEO would target a competitor or their CEO as an enemy combatant. That person must fail if we were going to win. They were standing between us and putting food on the table for our children. We even had mock funerals for them when they failed.

Evil seems a lot easier to manage when I believe someone is evil. We Christians take great delight in knowing that one day Satan will get his comeuppance. Would evil be a whole lot harder to battle if we couldn’t pin it on the devil?

Dr. King, how did you overcome this? Can you honestly say that during marches you didn’t see the face of Sheriff Clark or feel a need to squash Governor Wallace? Was your quote an aspirational one for you or was it truly your nature? It sure seems like you would have had to overcome a very basic, human instinct.

As natural as it is for me to want to attach my frustration and anger on an enemy I still know that deep down inside you were right. The enemy is the idea. When I can fully realize that success comes at the defeat of the idea and not the emotional comfort I get from defeating someone I will have truly comprehended what you taught.

Yet I still fail often despite my best intentions.

Ever trying,