Tuesday, April 10, 2012
We Need a New Enemy
This past Sunday was, of course, Easter, which means a trip to my parents after church for food, family, and hours of cousin-playing entertainment. One of the reasons we moved to Charlotte was so we would be close enough for these trips, and I am truly thankful to be able to put my family in a car and take an easy drive to my parents'. It was post-Easter, and we had experienced a great morning of worship at Grace Crossing - first at our sunrise service, then our regular service. I was feeling good, relaxed, taking in the sights, and I noticed about a half dozen billboards advertising "Relay for Life."
Now, I need to pause here and say, I love "Relay." At my last church I was part of the organizing committee, helped run the children's games, brought my youth, and walked myself each year at Relay for Life in Washington, NC. So don't take the following thoughts as criticism of "Relay" or any other wonderful charities that have formed around cancer.
The thought that popped into my head on Sunday was this: "why are we having to bake sale and relay and wash cars to try to cure cancer?" "Can't we all agree, even in this most partisan, divided time on a very basic truth?"
Can't we all agree Cancer = bad? Can't we then agree to bind ourselves together as a nation to try and fund cancer cures?
During the cold war, we were united against a common enemy, the Soviet Union. Now there were divisions in our unity (does that make sense?) but above those divisions existed a common cause: Beat the Commies. They were a worthy foe, and pushed us into a space race, an arms race, and an economic race.
Now, you may be thinking "well, aren't we united against extremists? Aren't we united against terrorism?" Well, yeah, I suppose, but they aren't exactly bringing out the best in us now are they? We aren't racing the Taliban into scientific achievement. We aren't having to try to outpace Al Qaeda in discovery or exploration. North Korea isn't pushing the limits of our innovation.
We need a new enemy. I know that sounds cynical, but I think its true. We need something greater than our petty divisions that will bind us together to do great things, like.... Cure Cancer! Now, I know cancer isn't a "thing," it is 100 things all lumped together under one name. I would think that cancer would be enough of an enemy of our people that we could bind together against it, but I would be willing to wager my next paycheck that any suggestion that our government fully funding cancer research would be met with cries of "socialism!" "Big Government!" "Tyranny!"
So, I'm taking a collection. Lets pass the hat and see if we can't get Moscow back on its feet. Sure, we will have to learn how to hide under our school desks, and be in constant fear of blowing the entire world up 10 times over, but at least we will finally realize that there is something bigger than our self interest to work towards (or against). We will give them the money on the condition that they start trying to cure cancer right away. They will have press conferences declaring the supremacy of Soviet Research and communist unity against cancer. They will produce propaganda and rub it in our face every time they reach some milestone.
I'm really convinced that is what it is going to take to bind us together again as a people, and move us past this most petty, petulant political atmosphere.
Then we could see which nation could win the Cancer race.
at 9:51 AM