Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A political moment.

I apologize, but I must take a brief moment to get political. If that isn't your cup of tea, feel free to skip this blog and tune back in when I start talking about baby clothes or singledom again.

1) There is something deeply upsetting and maddening about the US's deployment of war ships, freezing of assets, warning of imposing a no fly zone in Libya. Not because for a second I think the US should stand by and let innocent people get massacred by a crazy pants dictator (side note, are Gaddafi and Charlie Sheen distant cousins?). Not because I think it's wrong for the US to use its considerable force and might to intercede in humanitarian matters when there is gross injustice and needless loss of life. But because of the obvious reason behind it-oil. If you think that the US is doing its heavy weight posturing for any other reason than because Libya is a top oil producer, then you'd be kidding yourself. I wish this weren't true. I wish I could believe our government would show its force, because it believes that being a superpower carries with it the responsibility to step in when nations target their own citizens. I really wish it, because I believe in international diplomacy. I believe in the beautiful ideal set forth after WWII, that wonderful, simple promise of never again. But as much as I want to believe it, I can't. Because where was our government in the dozens of situations in the recent past when innocent people were slaughtered by their governments. Where were we when genocide tore through Rwanda or Darfur? Where were we when children were hacked to death with machetes? Where were we when the Burmese government violently squashed pro-democracy protests and imprisoned political prisoners simply for speaking their minds. Why were these people's lives less valuable to the United States or to the international community? Why is their fight less of our business? I hate that the answer is economical and financial. I hate that, because I will never be a political realist or isolationist. I will always believe everyone on this earth belongs to everyone else. Everyone is everyone's charge. And just as it would be wrong for a body builder to stand back and let a little kid get beat up on a public street corner, I think it's wrong for the world's powers to let innocent people get slaughtered, no matter where they are, no matter if a drop of oil or resources is produced on their soil. I know that's naive. I know it's idealistic. But in the midst of such a cynical, pragmatic world, more of us need to be naive and idealistic.

2) The Supreme Court ruled today that the crazy pants Westboro Baptist Church can protest at military funerals. I think those people are despicable. I think they are terrible and awful and every other bad adjective you can name. I think they're small and selfish and monstrous in their refusal to see or respect other's pain. But I agree with this decision with all of my heart. What they say and do makes me sick, but in this nation they absolutely have the right to say it. Democracy and free speech mean nothing if we only let people shout when we agree with them. We have to let the small and the selfish and the ugly shout too. It's very tempting to want to put a muzzle on these people so they can't hurt anyone anymore. If I could physically do that I would. But we're not a country of muzzles. We're a country of loud mouth idiots, and no matter how loud mouthed or idiotic, you have a right to speak. So shame on you Westboro Baptist Church for taking that free speech and turning into filthy vitriol. Shame on you for bastardizing free speech to make it a weapon. But kudos Supreme Court for upholding one of our most basic rights.

Side note: isn't it great that Democrats and Republicans can set aside differences if only to agree with how much those people SUCK.

The end of my politicizing.

1 comment:

chuckography said...

I'm glad I stopped by and that I stayed for your rant. Good points made.

Thank you.

And the "crazy pants" reference will stay with me.

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