In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith there is a scene at the end of the movie where Anakin and Obi-Wan are fighting each other. Anakin says, “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.” To which Obi-Wan replies, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
When I consider many of the issues that consume the political and theological dialogs of the world, it seems that this ideological battle between Sith and Jedi is always present. On one side of the issues are the Siths who want to believe that the world is black and white, that there is only one answer — their answer — to every problem. On the other hand there are the Jedis who see the world more realistically, in shades of gray.
Here are some examples.
Sex and gender. Siths believe that there are only two sexes: heterosexual male and heterosexual female. Any deviation from these two perceived extremes are dismissed as unnatural aberrations or as a willful and sinful rejection of a hypothetical biological order. To the contrary, Jedis view sex and gender on a spectrum of rich variety that includes but is not limited to heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered.
Marriage. The Sith view of sex and gender greatly influences the Sith view of marriage which is permitted only between heterosexual males and females. Jedis allow marriage between all sexes and gender.
Life. Siths believe life has an absolute, clearly defined beginning both at the macro and the micro level. At the macro level, they believe humans were created at a specific point in time somewhere around 6,000 years ago. At the micro level, they believe individual humans are created at an imagined “moment” of conception. Jedis, on the other hand, see life as evolving. They understand that the species homo sapiens developed over time and that individual human beings also grow and develop not only pre- but post-natally.
Race. Siths believe race is an absolute clearly defined construct and that people are either “white,” “black,” “red,” “yellow” or “brown.” Also, in order to preserve the integrity of this color system, which already has more hues than they are comfortable with, Siths will not acknowledge that mixing colors can create any new ones. Thus, if a “white” and a “black” person produce offspring, that child cannot be “gray;” it most likely would be defined as black, even if it looks white. And again, since Siths find these colors too varied for their absolute tastes, they would prefer that there was just one white race and they secretly conspire to create social and economic advantages for those that they perceive as white. Conversely, Jedis acknowledge that there are so many bewildering races and colors of skin that it is best just to treat everyone equally and not even bother trying to define what, if anything, race is.
Death. Siths believe death is the best way to solve any of the afore-mentioned problems. Killing is a pretty final and absolute way not to have to deal with someone anymore when they are disagreeable. Again, as with life, Siths deal with death at the macro and micro levels. They have no reservations about wiping out an entire nation of people even without provocation. Likewise, they also will execute individuals with lethal injection, firing squad or whatever mode of killing happens to be in vogue at the time. Jedis believe, as a result of their evolutionary views of life, that all people are intrinsically connected by the Force; thus to kill anyone, no matter how disagreeble, is also to kill oneself.
These are just a few examples of how Siths and Jedis view some of the issues of our time. I’m not going to make any conjectures about who I think these Siths and Jedis are in the real world, but I’m sure the astute reader can draw their own conclusions. Plus, even the polarity of Sith vs. Jedi is a bit too absolute for me and smacks of the Sith influence, so I try to see even Siths and Jedis not so much in black and white but as more of a rainbow.
But November is just around the corner, so I encourage you voters carefully to examine the candidates and to consider where they fall on the Sith–Jedi spectrum.
May the Force be with you.