I’m going to begin this with a poem I wrote a few years ago, because it lays out the context of what I’m about to write. Also, I want to acknowledge that I got the idea to write this after watching a documentary on Amazon Prime called The First War for Western Civilization. Want to make sure I give proper credit where its due. So here we go.
Hello! My friendly friend
Please, lend me just one ear
This story must be told
This true tale you must hear
For back when life just started
Long ago when things begun
There were but only two things
The universe’s wheel had spun
These two things fought and bickered
Until there came a day
A third thing tried to hurt them
And take their lives away
So helping one another
The two things formed a plan
To rid themselves of others
And join forces hand in hand
As the three were fighting
Another joined the fun
It tried to rule them all
But three things had turned to one
Helping all around them
They’d almost won the fight
‘Till the fifth came in to battle
So the four grouped all their might
They fought off this new creature
They knew soon six shall arrive
Come in from out of nowhere
And force truce to stay alive
The truce made these things realize
That these fights were really dumb
And standing strong together
Beats waging war as one
That poem illustrates the precise concept of how we, in the West, live the way we do. Let me explain.
Far too often I think we find ourselves removed from our history, getting caught up in the here and now. But any history book will tell you the basic tale of our cultural evolution and how we’ve arrived where we are today. We, in the West, vastly favor democracy: the rule of the people, by the people. It’s important to know where this all began.
The concept of democracy began in Athens, Greece, back in the 6th century BC. For those not into war/military history, at the time the Greeks were essentially comprised of a collection of city-states; all of which governing themselves and adopting their own culture and manner of living. They were constantly warring with one another for land and/or power. You hear all the time about the powers such as Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and so on. I want to make particular note of this sense of isolationism, because it’s basically the point of this post.
From 499 BC to 449 BC, the Greco-Persian wars were waged. This is important. I’ll spare the details, but in a nutshell, this was basically the greatest clash of East vs West ever fought, and its results have literally echoed to this very day. Persia was the greatest empire Earth had ever seen at the time. Its influence stretched from Eastern Europe to Western Asia and into Africa. It was enormous, covering about five and a half million square miles.
Now it doesn’t take much imagination to realize how powerful an empire such as this might be. Just by the sheer numbers of its geographic reach. Its army was massive. Massively massive, one might say. While there is some dispute amongst historians as to the cause of the Greco-Persian wars, the objective fact is that yes, Persia did try and invade the Greeks. Some say Persia was okay with its current influence and didn’t desire total world domination, and others say that they did. That’s an argument for the historians. Much of that argument rests on the fact the Athens and Sparta killed emissaries that had been sent as a means of diplomacy – an unforgivable act. The term “don’t kill the messenger” very much applies here, because some argue that this is what inflamed Persia to invade, while others take the Jihad/spread of Islam approach. That’s a murky water and I don’t want to tread in it, so we’ll just say that point is…they invaded. Who knows why.
This invasion is the force aforementioned in that poem. The Greeks, seeing this gigantic force coming to steal their horses and take their women, shed their egos, pride, and vanity, and united to fend them off. This literally is the reason you are enjoying your voting booths today. Had this war been lost, the West would have been under the influence of Eastern ideologies, and you would be living a very, VERY, different life.
So this is a thank you to the legends of yesteryear who rose to the occasion and defended their way of life. A salute to the strong; a toast to those who stood up for their convictions, even in the face of death.
Without folks like you, we’d be doomed.