There’s a man, there’s been many men, standing on a stage calling for an extermination of people. Then, a clarification: eradicating an ideology.
How does one eradicate an ideology? What steps can one take?
Erasing history books is a start, but a fruitless one. Stories are not only told through the vessels published by the majority. They’ve been told for centuries in locker rooms and on graffiti stained walls. Oral histories are spun from throats in bunkers and published in subtext. You cannot kill an ideology. You cannot erase every trace of it.
I think of Marsha, discarded dead in a river. I imagine you imaging this scene, breathlessly whispering your D-list movie star line about it being good, breathless and ecstatic and the thought of death. What image, though, comes most readily to your mind when you think of her? Is it her dead, lifeless and shredded in a river? Or is it her smiling? Made up? Flowered and wigged?
That is an ideology, no longer a person. You can’t kill it. It rises from the river in full color. You cannot erase every trace of us.
You cannot kill an ideology.
Of course, you also cannot kill an ideology. I think then of the worst one, the unmatched horror of atrocity. I think of a man who shoots himself in a bunker. I think of a trial on the world stage, an agreement that Never Again. I think of the men in white sheets burning crosses in yards. I think of a failed coup to honor an ousted president. I think of a salute and a march with faux torches from men afraid of fire.
No, you cannot kill an ideology. You cannot exterminate it. You cannot erase every trace of it.
Belief is an unstoppable force. Immovable from the minds of the devout, even the devout to come. Ideology reincarnates. People come back to life.
So if neither ideology can die, if love and hatred perseverate, what then? A stalemate? Futility? Should we give up? Sing kumbaya with the murderers and the murdered?
A better question than survival is worship. If both are immortal, which is worth your devotion? Our choice has to be made based on something more than survival.
I think now of Sisyphus and his damn boulder. I imagine hatred as the sisyphean ideology. Its only goal is to eradicate. To kill. To eliminate. But as we’ve discussed, ideology cannot die. People cannot be killed in a way that is meaningful. The ideology of eradication is futile. You are dedicated to an eternal thing, sure, but it is a torturous one. Something that can never be accomplished.
Consider then, us. The worship of an eternal ideology whose only goal is to exist. To live. To perseverate. Survive. To do, in essence, what an ideology does. To be what life is.
Both will survive; The choice is not survival. Both will exist. But only one, by its very nature, can succeed. And I am not a masochist.
Must just be me though.
Bryce Van Vleet is the #1 selling author of Tired Pages and Before We All Die Let’s Have One Last Chat by the Fireside. He also hosts the podcast Death in Dakota and sells poetry art here. You can support him by clicking through blog posts or donating (scroll to the bottom of the page).
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