It’s Ok If You Don’t Look Up
Written by Donald Hughes 2017
While watching the recent Star Wars spin-off movie, Rouge One, a certain line really caught my attention. When the daughter of the scientist that creates the “death star” Jyn is confronted with Saw Gerrera and is reluctant to join the rebel cause, she is asked if she is ok with seeing the flag of the Empire waiving over the galaxy. She snidely responds with, “It’s ok if you don’t look up.” My ears perked up. How profound a response is that in our present day and age? My mind began to conjure up images and examples of that very attitude ever circling my personal galaxy, let alone one far, far away!
For example, in the present climate and world of politics, I know so many close friends and family who go about their day totally ignoring what is going on in the country and the world. I use “ignoring” rather than “ignorant of” because surely they must feel the burden of too many taxes, the difficulty of finding affordable health care, the weight of over-reaching government regulations? They must feel the shrinkage of their purchasing power, the wasteful spending of tax-dollars, and the rapid decline of our social culture? Yet they continue on, going about their day and choosing not to look up. Most do not know who their elected leaders are. They don’t know what is being debated in the capital. Many don’t bother to vote. Perhaps they’ll be concerned and aware once the death star zooms in close on their own little world and it suddenly becomes personal. Perhaps they just think the fight for freedom will be won by a few rebels, whomever they are, and all will turn out well. Whatever the case is, the fight to keep our society well and whole has to have everyone engaged. Our very survival depends on informed, active, and involved participants. The country’s founders understood the challenge when they gave the power of self-government to the people, human nature being what it is.
Another example is found in the world of religion and faith. I know people that go about their daily lives totally ignoring what is happening to religious rights and freedoms. Once again I use “ignoring” because surely they must see the struggles between good and evil today? Do they not recognize that certain religious beliefs and cultures are being smothered all over the world, if not in our own backyard? Once the individual right to express one’s faith, or the right to make choices based on one’s beliefs is eroded and replaced by secularism, the world will not be so tolerant and kind. Yet, many do not attend or support a church, don’t exercise their own spiritual growth and find little use for faith-based activities like prayer and service. The secular empire deems these things as archaic, as weak and illogical. Most secular scientists make a point that communal religious practices, first created tens of thousands of years ago, were merely advantageous for social reason only. But a recent study by Pew Research Center indicates that 84% of the 7.3 Billion people on earth are affiliated with a religion. Once their faith, or freedom to worship is gone, than the secular society has won and their flags will be waiving high and proud, ala’ Germany in the 1930’s. Once those bright red and black flags were waiving, the German people thought it would be ok if they just didn’t look up. The Jews learned otherwise.
I find myself thinking about so many other applications to that age-old philosophy that “it’s ok if you just don’t look up.” History is full of examples of the consequence of that belief. However, it is also full of examples of a few rebels, if not a single voice, that stood up, looked up, and said, “this is NOT ok, this is NOT acceptable!” I continue to be educated and engaged. I still have many personal “death stars” aimed at my way of life, my way of thinking and at my little world. And each of those has the enormous potential to weaken me, to distract me and discourage me, but each one also has a gaping hole that can be penetrated, broken apart and even completely destroyed. And so too with the national or global death stars. But, we have to look up and see them.