Last night after listening to the President’s apologia about the war in Iraq with its message du jour, “we are safer, but we are not yet safe”—an assertion begging the question, Dude, where’s the data about safety—I turned to Mitch and said, “Isn’t there something we can do?”
There are many reasons to be appalled by this speech, not the least of which was the fear mongering ala 1984, but what disturbed me primarily was how little Bush asks of the American people. We mustn’t sacrifice or turn down our thermostats—look what happened to Jimmy Carter. The President wants our forbearance and fear and then dismisses us to shore up our basements with duct tape. Fear and shopping are the opiate of our masses.
There’s no question that terrorism is a hydra—a many-limbed thing spawned from good– and ill-intentioned decisions made after WWII, oil dependence, the formation of Israel, plus ethnic and religious forces most of us can only guess at. I disagree that “terrorists” hate our freedoms; they hate our cultural hegemony, the way our greed and products infect the world like a plague. They hate our sense of entitlement and arrogance, our surity that democracy and capitalism are human rather than American constructs.
The war in Irag is an attempt to isolate this hatred within the borders of one country, an attempt to treat the symptoms of terrorism and not the disease—poverty, ignorance, hopelessness. Would the mullahs be so successful in places where young people can start businesses, plant gardens and raise healthy children?
Isn’t there something we can do?
We can vote. We can help reduce our energy consumption by walking, riding our bikes and taking public transit. We can give to relief organizations. We can teach our children to think in shades of grey and not black and white. We can elect officials with a broader sense of goodness, wisdom that transends our borders and recognizes our economic and environmental interdependence. And we have to do this at home—and abroad.
Anyone got any better ideas?