Confessions Of An Old Cold Warrior

I had a very smart man, a rocket scientist in fact (we have a few in Huntsville), tell me recently that America was going to hell in a hand basket. He didn’t say it quite that way because a respectable Christian, Southern gentleman would never drop the “H” bomb in front of the ladies unless he was reading it out of the Bible. But that was the basic gist of it.

He said a lot of things, that we had strayed from the intent of the Founding Fathers to establish a “Christian Nation,” that widespread belief in evolution was the root of much of society’s evil and ills, including increasing teenage suicide rates, and that really things had grown much worse since prayer was banned in public schools.

He kept repeating how we as a citizenry have elected fools and put them in charge. He didn’t name names, but it was pretty clear whom he considered The Biggest Fool of All. He said we all really needed to “take back our country for God” before it was too late. It sounded a little like he was a recruiter for an army of some sort; the only thing missing was sergeant’s stripes on his sleeves.

Obviously, there was a lot of information and nuance that fell through the cracks. The spaces between the lines of his 32-pt Arial font were big enough to drive a Mack truck through, and I would have been happy to per her in overdrive and gone pedal-to-the-metal had he granted an opportunity for a little Q & A, but he didn’t.

In the end, there was a mixture of applause, some merely polite, some enthusiastic. I suspect most there generally agreed with the majority of his points, while a smaller number recognized his slick presentation for what it was: fear-mongering demagoguery.

But because it was fear-mongering demagoguery for a Good Cause (in the name of Jesus,) he received a free pass. And then the audience rose, shedding his ominous PowerPoints like water from a duck’s back, and grappled with the more pressing Question of the Hour: Chili’s or Logan’s Roadhouse for lunch?

Had I been able to ask questions, I might have mentioned all the biology professors at various Christian colleges and universities, including my own alma mater (Hail to thee!), who somehow manage to hold on to both faith and science and quietly encourage their students to do the same and have for decades (you have to do it quietly lest some large donor fret too much and withdraw his money in a huff).

I might have asked that if evolution, and not love of money, really is the root of all evil, then why don’t we get busy and use whatever means necessary to flush out some of those troublesome, suicide-assisting biology professors from our schools and fire them? Seems to me that if you’re going to take back America for God, a good place to start would be by cleaning your own house.

I think that I might have also pointed out that I’m too busy to join God’s merry little band of stormtroopers. Most days it’s all I can do to get up, go to work, provide decent eye care to my patients while affirming their humanity and honoring the Imago Dei in their wrinkled, grizzled faces, exercise, do right by my family (and even then, the people I love most get shortchanged), pay my bills on time, and try to generally be a decent human being.

That effort alone exhausts me. Usually by the end of the day I barely have energy left to operate a remote control, and even if I try to do the right thing and read instead, my lids grow heavy after 5 minutes, and faster than you can say “Mr. Sandman,” I’m off to La-La Land.

And you want me to spend even more mental, physical and spiritual capital by signing up to fight a Culture War? Isn’t it enough to just try to sew a few seeds of righteousness on the small patch of earth I’m fated to walk across every day? Isn’t loving my neighbor as myself and–egads!–my enemies to boot a tall enough order to keep every fiber of my being occupied?

Hmmm. Let me get back with you on that–right after my evening nap.

All that, plus I’m still too busy fighting the Cold War to sign up for another one. I’m not saying that because I’m proud of it. In fact, it’s more confession than anything, very appropriate for Lent.

You see I hate, well, that may be a little strong; I strongly dislike Russians. Spammers or athletes, it makes no difference. Yes, I know it’s been 20 years since the Iron Curtain fell, but I just can’t let it go.

I realized this anew while watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics recently. I rocked back and forth, emitting peals of evil laughter as I watched the trash-talking Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko pout in the “Kiss and Cry Area” and place second to our boy Lysacek. I howled in protest when Domnina and Shabalin edged out Belbin and Agosto for Bronze in ice dancing.

Oh sure, I know the Russians technically outskated us that night, but I still had trippy flashbacks to those days when Soviet pairs could curse the crowd, flip it off, do a face plant after their Triple Axel and STILL win Gold because the entire judging panel was composed of burly, Soviet Bloc women with guns to their heads. Seeing the Russians on the podium was like watching Aleksandr Belov make that layup from that blasted US-Soviet Munich basketball final back in ’72 all over again–third time’s the charm.

And what did the Soviets do after their state-run, steroid-fueled, assembly line athletic factories fell apart? They took all that money and efficiency and created Russian spammers. On average, they leave 2,975 pieces of it a day here at Ocular Fusion. Every few days, as I empty my Askimet Spam Filter of their droppings, I curse them all over again.

I do occasionally turn the hate toward better ends, though. When I’m lagging toward the end of a long run, I sometimes imagine I’m racing a pair of Russians, and that’s usually good for a little burst of speed at the end.

As I turn on my street toward home, Ivan moves up on my left, Dmitri on my right. I place a well-aimed left elbow into Ivan’s 5th intercostal space and stick my right foot out just enough to send Dmitri tumbling into Mrs. R’s trash can. I lean hard and nip Ivan at our mailbox, much to amusement of the neighbor across the street.

But I just won gold and once again made the case for American exceptionalism. Do you think I care what he thinks?

Good Lord, deliver me! I can’t even love a pair of imaginary Russians, much less real ones.

No, I think I’ll spend what time I have left trying to learn to love my neighbors and my enemies–even Russians–and take a pass on The Culture War. I have a feeling that’ll keep me plenty busy for the rest of my life and then some.

  1. Keith Brenton

    Dr. Eyeguy, a blog post like this IS a part of the culture war … a good part!If I’m on your judging panel while you’re skating on the thin ice of serving God and man at Ocular Fusion Arena, I’ll give you gold!

  2. Eric

    How do I love thee, let me count the ways!Thanks for your friendship and the collision of eschatological hope (“all shall be well”) from last night with the realization that this hope is not yet realized today.  I appreciate you!

  3. Jeff

    Hey, nice blog.  Funny story: I was googling “John Denver” because a patient in my optical wanted glasses that looked like his, and your blog popped up.I’m a Christian optometrist in Ohio.  I’ll be reading and commenting. 

  4. Jeff

    I agree with your point that there is a fine line of distinction between a Christian’s mission and an American’s mission.  It’s confusing to many to reconcile the two; apparently the cold warrior is taking the simplistic, fleshly approach.Sadly, it undercuts the mission of Christianity.

  5. laurie

    “9.9, 9.9, 9.9, and a 2.3 from the Russian judge.”It kind of saddens me that my kids and grandkids will never get that joke. 

  6. laurie

    P.S.  Jeff, I discovered the Eyeguy when googling a source for “Allez les Vieux” Tshirts after the last World Cup.  Pretty sure God controls our google searches, too.  🙂

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    Eric and Keith–

    Thanks for skating out into the rink with me. I can always tell how thin the ice is by how much Eyegal cringes as she reads my posts.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy


    Welcome to another OD who also happens to be a Christian! And feel free to hang around, comment as much as you like, and become a Fusioneer even–as long as you don’t disagree with me. 😉

    I’m also fascinated by the digital breadcrumbs that I’ve scattered over the past 5 years that lead people here. Here’s a post about another celebrity’s glasses you might find entertaining!

  9. Mike the Eyeguy


    Do you have a rough idea how many people have stumbled upon your blog after Googling “Stop the Cavalry?”

  10. rebecca

    America is such a great country: individual citizens can have their own opinions, and share them.  

  11. Steve

    Mike, while reading about the old ‘rocket scientist’ I really wanted to vent.

    But, I’ll pull back and state that in my opinion,  his fears are completely unwarranted. The person he infers as being a Fool is a calm, rational person who speaks in complete, grammatical sentences and whose actions have been careful, measured and yes in the original meaning of the term, conservative.

    I acknowledge we do have problems but in some ways we are more of a Christian nation now than ever before. I remember when school prayer was banned.  I was in the 7th grade.  Since then life spans have increased, things got better for our African American citizens, we landed on the moon, we cured many different cancers and diseases, Christian radio and TV now fill the air, we have PC’s and the internet etc, etc. 

    Life is better in so many ways.  And Praise God for that.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy


    Indeed it is. People do, and generally speaking they don’t disappear in the middle of the night and they’re not lined up and shot. As Yakov Smirnoff would say, “America: What a country!”

  13. Mike the Eyeguy


    The real irony is that this rocket scientist has based his career on the Enlightenment value of progress, yet when it suits him, he discards all that and pines for a world that never really existed in the first place.

    I would be the first to say that the Enlightenment was a mixed bag and that we’ve lost some precious things along the way, but you’d have to be a pretty hard-core troglodyte (paging, paging…I know there are a few of you out there reading this) to want to turn back the clock and deal with bubonic plague again (to name just one example) just so we could all be on the same page religiously.

    When I listen to a presentation like that which simply doesn’t do justice to reality and all the nuance in the world it always makes think of this quote (whoever said it):

    “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

  14. Eyegal

    When I hear people talk about the good old days, I always wonder when they’re talking about.  Was it when Christians were being fed to Lions, was it when African Americans couldn’t sit by us in a restaurant, was it when women couldn’t vote or stand up to abuse?  Anyway, I’m just so tired of the fear mongering!  We live in the now, it is what it is, both good and bad.  If we do our part to make the spot where God put us better and try to listen to what He calls us to do….I have faith He can take care of the rest.

  15. Mike the Eyeguy

    The Woman has spoken. Listen to her.

  16. Jennifer Baker

    Amen, Eyegal.  Amen.

  17. mmlace

    “Isn’t it enough to just try to sow a few seeds of righteousness on the small patch of earth I’m fated to walk across every day? Isn’t loving my neighbor as myself and–egads!–my enemies to boot a tall enough order to keep every fiber of my being occupied?”  Amen, brother.  “He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”–Micah 6:8  I’d say it’s enough.  Thanks for posting. 

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    Nice tie-in with my favorite passage of scripture there, mmlace.

  19. mmlace

    Really?  It’s one of my favorites as well.But I thought you were more of an Ecclesiastes guy?  I’d have guessed that your favorite passage was somewhere in there…

  20. Richard

    Mike,Thanks for directing me here. My favorite part was your conjuring just how fatiguing it is to simply be a kind person, day in and day out. Too many people take a pass on that hard work and opt for the easy road: Judging others.

  21. Mike the Eyeguy

    Richard, thanks for stopping by and reading this. You wrote the post that helped inspire it.

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