When I was a boy, one memorable Saturday morning cartoon character was called the Masked Marauder. You rarely saw the character until the end of the cartoon, but his mischief ran throughout the story.
Little did I realize at the time that the cartoon was preparing me for the trials of my old age. Just as in the cartoon, the mischief of a masked marauder permeates my world. This villain is not the masked folks who pass me on the street every day. This troublemaker is far more insidious than that.
Unseen, he inhabits broadcasted words, flourishes in high-sounding phrases typed by the well-intentioned, lurks whispered in ideas, and sit in at corporate meeting rooms and church pews.
The message is simple, “those not like us”—the unmasked, are the evil minions of destruction and death. They are not really human like we are so it’s okay to violate their bodies and beliefs. They don’t feel things like we do, they are too selfish. They are a drain of society and the cause of all our problems. Even the governors preaching this from the statehouse steps are not the marauder.
Ripping the mask away reveals the real evil—fear, the unreasoning, gluttonous, fear of zealots hungry for power. Submission is the only salve that soothes the self-righteous fearmongers masquerading as your family, your friends, and your neighbors. They are missionaries of terror driven to convert the world to the true way.
Fighting them confirms their fears, resisting them solidifies their zeal and ignoring their serves only to infuriate them. The marauder will be revealed at the end, just as in the cartoon, when he turns to deliver the final blow.