At least since our War in Iraq began, the pre-emptive strike seems to have become an important form of social communication, our new modus operandi. Every day, I drive past a home in my community that displays a flag with the old message: "Don't tread on me." I think to myself, Well, who was planning to do that?
I heard this week that a large 2nd Amendment Rally is planned in D.C. They will shout and make great noises: Don't tread on me. Well, again, Who has been talking lately about taking guns from gun-owners? Still, these folks will gather, shake their fists, show their guns, and try to intimidate someone for some reason.
It is odd. We fear something now, the imposition of another's "tread". But there isn't really much treading going on by the people the pre-emptive types fear. God knows, we have been tread upon, but it wasn't by Big Government, or tax and spend Liberals, nor even as much by terrorist lunatics, as by our own unexamined and unchallenged greed, expressed on Wall Street. The unlimited and relatively unregulated pursuit of private wealth came closer to destroying our country than anything else ever has. No war, storm, earthquake or civil unrest ever threatened us more than our own hunger to be more and more financially secure.
Where is a Scriptural word for this fearful, raging society, about declining one's rights in favor of the neighbors' good? Sharing one's goods? Seeking harmony? I distrust the new interest in pre-emptive threats, and irrational accusations that go with it. It inspires nothing but dread in me.
Kindness, respectful address, and some degree of trust do not rule in the media, nor in public discourse, and this could some day mean that they do not rule in our towns and neighborhoods.