Monday, December 08, 2014

Infamy seems to wear off over time

Maybe I didn't see much because I tend to avoid media most of the time, but Pearl Harbor Day seemed to come and go without more than a murmur.

I'm as bad as anyone. Caught up in the surprise attacks and extended campaigns of my own life I gave little thought to the Japanese attack more than 70 years ago that finally pushed the United States into World War II. As the Second World War appears to have solved fewer and fewer issues that plague us today, that great conflict between Good and Evil, as magnificent as it was, becomes a symbol of the frustrating endlessness and brutal human cost of that conflict.

We didn't even defeat the Fascists. They just rebranded, regrouped and took over the finance industry. They learned to be more subtle and play a longer game in their quest for world domination and discriminatory prosperity.

The dissipation of infamy happened suddenly in just a couple of years. The usual outlets that howl about exalting all things military shift their focus to the imaginary War on Christmas. The compression of the holiday season that follows a late Thanksgiving leaves little attention for remembrance of an inspiring defeat suffered before the midpoint of the previous century. Pearl Harbor Day suffers the fate of all children with birthdays in December. For years it was early enough to preserve its own little bubble of solemnity, but the accumulation of newer crises and the pressures of modern life have finally overtaken it.

We will never forget entirely. I'm not even saying that the degree to which we've forgotten already is entirely bad. Conflicts that occurred between people now mostly dead over political and economic issues that should never have led to war only deserve so much reverence before you have to shake your head and look at the whole shooting match as a waste of many things. It had to be done, but only because of events that precipitated it based on things that should never have been done.

Pull back far enough and Earth is a tiny dot in cosmic blackness, populated by microscopic beings who will destroy each other and the whole place, attempting to rule it. It looks large and invulnerable to us here in the roughness of its crust. We abuse each other mercilessly as we try to shape the illusion to please ourselves.

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