Whose team is best? Ours of course. Why? Because it’s ours. Okay, so whose team is worst? Theirs of course. Why? Because it’s not ours. Pretty childish, right? Just what you’d expect from kids in Little League. Yet big kids, called adults, are no different. And that’s not a good thing. Our better selves and more mature representatives tell us, “It’s not whether we win or lose, but how we play the game.” Then over against that, our smaller selves and less mature representatives counter with Vince Lombardy that “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” Or did I get it backwards? Anyway, you get my point.
Ministers at even our liberal churches pray each week for our military. (This prayer has been ongoing my whole septuagenarian life, since our peace-loving nation always seems to have a contingent of young people in harm’s way somewhere.) “O Lord, please protect our military, keep them from harm, and bring them safely home.” I can say amen to that. But what about their military? They have families who no doubt miss them and fear for their safety too. But then, they’re the bad guys, and we’re the good guys. Their boys are on their team; ours are on ours.
Two-and-a-half millennia ago, Socrates famously declared himself a citizen of the world. He was later put to death by his fellow Athenians as a perverter of youth. Sufis say that when you have reached the level of insan al-kamil, the perfected or noble human being, you take the whole world as your nation and all humanity as your family. In our present Dark Age of ongoing violence, large and small, towards ourselves, others, Nature, and God, there is gratefully a growing number of everyday Socrates’s, players in the coming Renaissance. I pray, dear reader, that you and I will be among them.