When I was a kid growing up in the South, every Friday and Saturday were filled with the cheers and jeers of sportsball fans. Decked out in the colors of their local high school or college team, legions of players and spectators clashed physically and vicariously on the 100 yard battlefield in crowded stadiums in the quest for victory over rival and foe. Not much has changed these days, perhaps the draw of football has gotten stronger. But why? What psychological need do we have to declare victory and bragging rights?
Western people are largely sedentary creatures. We no longer walk much in our daily routines. We drive a self propelled machine around to alleviate the burden on our legs. The slothful and obese even use little electric cars to do their grocery shopping. No need to walk to the end of the sidewalk to get the newspaper to learn of recent events. You can read the news on a mobile device as you sit in your comfy chair at home! Heck, we don’t even have to search websites for our news anymore. It’s all aggregated in social media and special news apps that notify you when breaking news happens.
But yet, there is still an instinct deep in our nature to compete. Computing advances in recent decades have made competing easier and more accessible through virtual online gaming. We no longer have to hone special physical skills, train our bodies, or master a weapon. We can do it all in a pretend and safe environment where there is no blood to spill.
Watching a sporting event does require a little bit more effort than gaming. One must carry a few pom-poms, sport your team’s gaudy apparel and traverse some bleacher stairs to get to your uncomfortable seat. For some smaller venues, you must still go to the concession stand to get your unhealthy food, but for the spectator at a larger venue, usually those owned by those massive faceless megacorporations (like the Dallas AT&T Stadium and Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium), he need not even stand because a vendor will come by soon enough with his over-priced cheese smothered nachos and Bud Light.
On Thursday evening, the American Empire’s president, Donald Trump, rained down 50-some-odd Tomahawk cruise missiles on an airbase in Syria. The justification, a “reported” gas attack on Syrian civilians by the Bashar al-Assad regime. Much like a Saturday night at a Southeastern Conference (SEC) football game, the pundits, politicians, and people of this country picked their sides, donned their war paint and cheered or jeered the decision to initiate an act of aggression against the Islamic State’s opponent.
I spent Friday reading the social media comments of the blissfully unaware and cognitively dissonant masses. Some of them are my friends on Facebook. The usual suspects have picked their sides.
For the “normie,” a deliberate strike by the U.S. military against a declared foe is a reason to celebrate. Our biblical and spiritual roots tell us there must always be a good guy and a bad guy. Friends and enemies. Aggressors and victims. If we weren’t so busy watching our evening episode of The Walking Dead and catching some of The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News, why we might just suit up in our chain mail and armor and join the crusades ourselves! Thank God we can just sit back, relax and watch it all on TV. Where did I put that remote?
I think I read somewhere once that a guy named Vespasian (this Roman dude) built this place called a “colosseum,” so that fat, hedonistic, blood lusting Roman citizens could catch a gladiator mauling or two on their way to the vomitorium. That empire eventually fell.
Let’s do our best to help this one along a little faster.