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We Have Met theEnemy … and He Is Us!
Tim McVeigh and America’s Soul
By Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi &Qigong Day
10100 Roe Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66207
Timothy McVeigh went to his death Monday June 11, 2001, withthe same flinty look he showed the world when he was first arrested for killing168 people in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in OklahomaCity. He blew up the building by detonating a truck loaded with 7000-lb ofexplosives. At Terre Haute prison, Indiana, USA, McVeigh received a chemicalinjection from the government he despised, and was pronounced dead at 8:14 a.m.EDT, becoming the first federal prisoner executed in 38 years. He died silently,with his eyes open. A federal jury condemned Timothy J. McVeigh to deathfor the April 19, 1995. He shattered a complacent nation’s belief that theface of random political terror could never be American.
TimothyMcVeigh is treated like an aberration – something outside us. Timothy McVeigh isonly one symptom of a national disease we all have. That disease is that we havecollectively forgotten that we are "sacred," that life is"sacred."
How ironic that at a time when our government wants to spend more and more moneyon so-called "defense" and a star-wars system that will suck ourprecious resources away from protecting our environment and educating ourchildren – we have just executed a man who has inflicted more terror on us thananyone else – and he is an American, trained by our own military machine. We donot need to pour our money and consciousness into fearing distant enemiesabroad, because the greatest enemy is right here – often within our own mindsand hearts.
The greatest damage done to American society again and again is "selfinflicted." 70% of illness is caused by unmanaged stress – or in otherwords, our body and mind attacking itself with worry and FEAR, as average peoplestruggle to survive in an economy of exploding wealth. The 6 leading causes ofdeath are stress related. Our rivers are poisoned by the drugs we pump in ourown bodies to hide from our stress or treat the illness that stress causes, andthe toxins we pump into our foods to raise crop yields so we can gorge onunhealthy amounts of food, and our children are poisoned with the violence, andcruel comedy that uses hurt and put-downs for laughs, pumped into their mindsday after day through our un-imaginative entertainment media, that oftenadvertises foods and drinks that further destroy their health.
The great chief Seattle (Seathl) of the Suwamish Indian Tribe wrote a letter tothe United States President in 1854, saying that they would give up theirprecious land, because if they didn’t the US soldiers would come with guns andtake it anyway. But, Chief Seathl cautioned – "love the land as we haveloved it. Care for it as we’ve cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of theland as it was when you take it. . . . Continue to contaminate your bed, and youwill one night suffocate in your own waste."
Our culture is poisoned from our lack of nurturing ourselves, our environment,or our children, while we pour our precious resources into building weapons toprotect our land from foreign invasion, while our children are undereducated andsuffer a lack of hope and vision as the US imprisons more of its young than anynation on earth except one (we spend $500 billion annually on crime). And nowour government seeks to destroy more of our precious natural resources so thatwe can suck more of the earth’s bounty from her heart, at a time when theendless consumption of that bounty is strangling earth’s ability to createoxygen and cool itself.
Our lives are out of balance, but rather than facing this, we aim our fearoutward, to external enemies in other countries or we hang all of our dis-functionon the shoulders of a Tim McVeigh, thereby avoiding the dis-comfort of lookingin our own hearts. Our enemy is in our hearts, it is forgetting that we and ourchildren are sacred. Timothy McVeigh felt that the pre-school children in thebuilding he destroyed were expendable collateral damage. BUT WE are not sodifferent when as a society we believe that the poison we eat and drink, thechildren who lose hope, and the prisons (monster factories) we fill andoverfill, and the precious earth we consume (the US consumes 25% of the earth’sresources with only 5% of the earth’s population) – is acceptable collateraldamage so that we can continue to pour obscene billions into more and moreweapons of mass destruction.
Our lives are out of balance, as we over-eat so much meat that our bodies bloatand our hearts thicken with the strain. Our enormous appetites require anobscene mistreatment of animals in what’s called "factory farming."Chickens raised their entire miserable lives without ever feeling the warmth ofsunlight or ever having room to stretch their wings, being tortured withlighting systems and arsenic to stimulate them to lay more eggs, because theylay more eggs when continually stressed. Chimpanzees, because they are mostlike us in the animal kingdom, are infected and tortured in horrid livingconditions, crying their lives away in sadness and depression. All of ourtechnology offers so much hope for creating a good and loving world – but wesquander it.
We would do well to remember what Chief Seathl told our president in 1854."Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every Shining pineneedle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, andevery humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people."
Our culture has made fun of Indian culture in its movies and books andtelevision. We have completely dishonored perhaps one of the most civilizedcultures in the history of the world. It is time to listen, to reawaken, to findbalance and harmony within our own lives and own minds. The enemy is not"out there," it is within each of us, and we can make peace right nowby becoming sacred – reawakening to the sacredness of life. Let Tim McVeigh’sdeath, and the sad and unnecessary death of the Oklahoma bombing victims havemore meaning than some visceral shallow satisfaction in seeing another sickpuppy like McVeigh bite the dust. Let’s let this sad national journey lead us tosome real meaning in our lives. Let’s see through this sadness to remember thatwe are sacred. Our country, our land, our children, all sacred. And from thisrealization a healing can spread across our land, and through the world. Americacan inspire the world toward more than endless armament. We have the power toshine a precious light that can lift the world to new meaning, "if we canfind that new meaning in ourselves."
"The devils of the world are in our own hearts – and that is where ourbattles must be fought." Mahatma Gandhi.