“It’s good to be bad.” “I’m so bad, it’s good.” “I am bad, and that is good.”
If the phrases we spout so proudly reached the ears of Earthenia, the shock and pain would be extreme. In a place where honor, respect and dignity reign, the idea of celebrating what is wrong is unthinkable. While many here would argue the full meaning behind the phrases, for those on Telamier, saying what you mean and meaning what you say is a way of life. To them, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that good means good and bad means bad.
It honestly baffles me to think that we can so proudly state how bad we are, yet become angry when people do bad things to us or others. So why do we so easily gravitate toward the idea of being bad? While I refuse to say I know all the specifics, I truly believe that much of it comes down to power. Being bad creates a sense of strength and power (mainly through fear) that is learned at a very young age.
As a child, I was the victim of severe bullying. I was brought up to do what was right and what was good. That became a sign of weakness. For many in our society, good is weak – bad is strong. If you beat someone up, if you cuss someone out, if you exact your personal “justice” upon someone you feel has offended you, you are the stronger individual. But strength is not about doing these things, it’s about being able to and choosing not to. It is about not matching the actions of those who cause hurt. This is not to say self-defense when attacked is wrong. Nor is this speaking against proper law and order. However, I have observed with growing hurt how people become the very thing that angers them in order to show how strong they can be by being equally bad. But good is not weak. Good is not cowardly. Those are the distinctions of being bad, because now we have to hide behind a sense of misguided actions to prove ourselves instead of finding strength in standing firm for what we know is right.
This is at the heart of Night Hawk. David struggles many times with having to choose how to react to the often horrific events faced in his life. As General Riechet states, “Wisdom will have to play into finding the truth behind each challenge faced. Weigh your choices with compassion but do not forget reason and logic.” Logic is simple: good is good, bad is bad. Throughout my years of working with Night Hawk, I have made it my mission to uphold the integrity of the characters through honorable decisions and actions. I have yet to hear any reader state that David, Darkracer, Amber, General Riechet, Mike, Keven and any number of other characters are weak or cowardly because they chose good over bad.
But what is good? What is bad? It is a question with which David challenges Mike as read in the following scene:
“You took out an enemy soldier. It’s your job,” Mike replied.
“And it’s their job to take us out. Which is right? Are we no better than they are?” David surprised himself with his question. Deep down he knew the answer. Nonetheless, satisfaction lay in verbalizing his thoughts. He heard Mike take a deep breath.
“If we attacked them unprovoked, I guess so. I’ve heard it said that the just side of war is determined only by the side you are on. In a way I suppose that’s true, but I don’t think it’s completely accurate. As far as I’m concerned, a moral absolute plays a role in any conflict. For us, we were attacked without provocation. Our enemy wants only to kill us and take what’s ours. Anyone bent on destroying the innocent for their own gain has lost their right to say their fight is honorable. We are defending ourselves. The Vairdec didn’t have to come.”
“And is it honorable to cause suffering in the killing?”
“I don’t follow.”
As much as he regretted reliving the attack, David filled Mike in on the details of the Vairdec’s last moments. When he finished, a long silence followed.
“You have a lot to be angry about. It would be hard for any of us to react differently in a situation like that, especially if we had been there to witness Riechet’s… I suppose from a moral standpoint you could have handled it better, but sadly war brings not just the best but the worst out of people.”
“So how do we walk away with any dignity?”
“By recognizing the worst and not repeating it.”