Truth is a tough mistress. The sting of her whip? Intellectual and moral consistency. Truth frustrates moral relativists and hypocrites alike. Truth is not interested in your voter registration card, which campaign you work for, what Plum Book position you snagged a presidential appointment to, or what “non-partisan” charitable organization allows you a place to park your desk. Truth is just truth.
Genocide is genocide. To fight genocide is to have a moral constitution of steel and act so ethically that your unflinching stance will yield truth, accountability and justice as a policy of those in government and civil society. For more than 500 years, for all of recorded history, slavery and genocide have existed. Mankind has always sought freedom and equality while simultaneously fighting enemies within our ranks.
The genesis of evil has been debated as long as we have had written language. From Homer and Herodotus, to Ovid and Shakespeare, to modern storytellers like the Grimm Brothers or Nathaniel Hawthorne or even Steven Spielberg, the battle between good and evil has raged. For all the fairy tale endings we find in the West, it has not always been so for our brothers and sisters in Africa. This fantasy, the self-anesthetized avoidance of acknowledging the existence of evil, may sell books or movie tickets but at the end of the day we know fairy tales are not real. The men and women who are truly courageous, honorable and heroic are real people. They are human and frail but somehow transcend the fragility of life to uplift our spirits and vanquish evil.
Bravery knows no bondage. It slips the tethers and casts light. The 1994 Rwandan genocide demonstrated what happens when we self-anesthetize. As did Apartheid. As did the Middle Passage. And here is where we find the genesis of modern evil. Few want to acknowledge this truth. It would mean we made bad decisions. It would mean we have not lived up to the ideals of the Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln. It would mean when our nation began Reconstruction after the Civil War we did not finish the job: end slavery. Not just here, but on both sides of the transaction, across the continent of Africa. It would mean as a people we allowed Presidents and successive sessions of Congress to make expedient decisions—decisions that make slavery and genocide possible today. Much as US Special Envoy Scott Gration has done, unchecked, with regard to Sudan.
Truth does not care about the politics of the day the way we do. Unfortunately, the competition for fame and accolades is too tempting for some in the political theater. There are charges and countercharges of racism. Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, an army veteran, leveled accusations at the Tea Party protesters during an appearance on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Moulitsas declared: “They’re against democratic government, they’re anti-democratic…basically with just respect for democracy in this nation, I mean this is what the people voted for, and it’s one thing to oppose it on policy, it’s another thing to use the kind of exterminationist, eliminationist rhetoric that they’re using in appealing to violence and uh, and uh, that sort of thing.” [Emphasis mine.]