#115 Cowardice or Insanity? (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

Most humans despise cowards. In politics or religion, we're a lot more lenient, apparently, toward cowards but as a group of humans we're fairly consistent in our disgust towards people, especially men, who act in cowardly ways for selfish purposes.  For some reason, our legal system works specially hard to delineate crazy cowards from the "sane" ones. 

Cowardice is a sort of insanity, isn't it?  A coward is someone who is afraid of, and over-reacts to, an overstated or non-existent threat.  Being afraid of a real threat isn't cowardice, it's "discretion" as a famous beer drinker once claimed. 

Most humans are able to overcome their fears to do the things that need to be done.  Performers and public speakers are regularly victims of stage fright.  Soldiers are almost always terrified of flying bullets.  Voters are always scared shitless of voting for the "wrong" candidates.  But we get past it and make our best shot at doing the right thing.  Most of us do, anyway.

Some of us do extraordinary things because of, or in spite of, our fears.  Sometimes those extraordinary things should have never been done, sometimes they are the acts of heroism.  The line between fear-induced viciousness and bravery is a fuzzy gray mark in the sand.  In war, one man's bravery is another man's horrific act of terror. 

Somehow, in politics one man's act of cowardice can often become a large group's rallying cause.  George Bush's timidity as a young man, for example.  Little George, as his friends called him, away from the protection of his parents was terrified of just about everything.  He crawled under his mother's skirts to avoid the Vietnam War.  But delivering flowers to generals was too much for him, so he went AWOL for the last year and a half of his safe and protected National Guard obligation.  Nothing happened, but he was still terrified of life in general, so he hid in a martini glass and behind the haze of coke smoke. 

Finally, in his mid-40s he realized that he was about as safe as a human can be on this planet and he decided to peek out at the world without the protection of drugs and booze.  Still too scary.

So he invented a personal god with whom to communicate his fears, insecurities, and paranoia.  With the help of a squad of personal religious advisors, Little George invented a universe that centered around his fears and nutty drug-induced belief system.  Being the most susceptible of men, Georgie's "religion" made him a simple-minded tool of the folks who wanted a Stepford President.  For some reason, millions of conservative American voters fell in love with the idea of a cowardly kitty Presidency. 

From the mouths of children may come truth, but what comes from the mouths of fools and cowards?  I fear that we're going to find out in the next four years.

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