Figuring It Out

At the risk of attracting an enormous amount of political/militant/erectile dysfunctional plutocrats looking to stash cash spam, I assure you I did not take this risk lightly, I have to share my discovery of a  post written by a thoughtful young man. While political in nature, the post is interesting, to me at least, for a couple of reasons. First, the language he uses.

This isn’t a fight over moral credibility or standing. If we were truly living up to the Kennedy Doctrine of “pay[ing] any price, bear[ing] any burden, meet[ing] any hardship, support[ing] any friend, oppos[ing] any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty” then we probably should have been in the Congo decades ago. We probably shouldn’t have kiss-on-the-cheek relations with Saudi Arabia, a country that institutionally discriminates against women and minorities. We probably should be examining why, in our own country, we provide billions in tax breaks to corporations while children starve in our inner cities and rural communities. If we’re all of a sudden taking a moral stance, we’re a bit late to the party.

That’s not to say that the sins of our past should prevent repentance in the future. But what form is that repentance to take? Which side in Syria is going to assure the survival and success of liberty? Which side is planning to provide women with equal rights and ensure religious minorities are not persecuted? Which side is planning a more equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity? How many civilians will die from collateral damage and how many more soldiers will lose their limbs and lives for an outcome that may result in an even worse future state?

The language in particular which I find most interesting is in the first sentence of each paragraph. The words in particular are fight, moral, sins, and repentance.

This isn’t a fight over moral credibility or standing.

That’s not to say that the sins of our past should prevent repentance in the future.

The article is well written. It contains links to support the author’s main points and I agree with the author that we are, as he asserts, “a bit late to the party” with our moral certitude, but as you may well know by now, I do not take a political perspective on these matters, but a human one. A human perspective for the very reasons that, I am human and I often find myself fascinated by human behaviors that contradict what we say. For instance, most people say they want to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Most people say they think that everyone should have the right to do so. Yet our behavior suggests that we don’t care at all about those ideals. Instead it seems we care about struggling for power and making others suffer for that struggle. Now, if only one or two people are doing this, I say we crowdsource a way to get their mean asses to knock it off so the rest of us can get on with the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, I suspect the number of people who enjoy a power struggle is more than a few.

Another reason this post is interesting, besides the fact that when I read it reblogged on Millennial Veteran Project, only a spammer and one other blogger had “liked” it, is that I discovered it purely by accident through a link of someone who “liked” a post I wrote.

You may not know this, but I check out each human/entity claiming to like something I write. I often ask myself why some topics I write about, topics I believe are important and well presented generate little interest. I ask myself a thousand questions. I won’t list them. Suffice it to say they run the gambit of self-doubt about my writing ability to other, less relevant contentions. The point is that I am noticing some emerging themes that deserve attention. People of all ages question the decisions of leaders to go to war. We aren’t all asking the same questions. We are not consistent in our demand for answers. No doubt, the questions need to be asked and answered even if we cannot seem to come up with answers upon which we can all agree. More importantly, if we don’t engage in the conversation, someone else gets to make decisions for us. Frankly, I don’t like the sound of that one bit.

The author of the article referenced above makes an observation that I find utterly shocking. He states that Syrian President Assad has been slaughtering tens of thousands of his own people for the past two and a half years. My first thought when I read that was, he must be exhausted. Yes, that is a bit smart ass thought, but you know me. Seriously, who is doing the slaughtering? Who is actually carrying it out? Certainly Assad has not taking it upon himself to single-handedly carry out these atrocities. So, what is it that he is giving or denying the ones who are? Food, shelter, protection under the quote/unquote law? What is motivating neighbor to slaughter neighbor? Is it the same thing that motivates leaders around the world to join in on the violence? Power? Control? Leverage?

As we sit here in our cities and suburbs and rural communities shaking our heads at what our leaders are contemplating, no, not life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but of jeopardizing those very things in the name of what? Preserving them? Morality? Humanity? Economic interests which teeter precariously on an axis of upheaval? What do we suppose people in Syria are thinking? What do they want to see happen? How could their lives be changed by someone, anyone deciding to stop the violence? Are these the right questions? I don’t know, but it seems as good a place to start as any. If we don’t ask questions, how will we get answers? One person is not creating this situation and it seems to me it will take more that one person to end it. What do you think?

Recycled for the pursuit of happiness.

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9 thoughts on “Figuring It Out

  1. These are hard questions without good answers. I watch Secretary Kerry and the President, I remain ambivelant. No, that isn’t true, I remain against intervention. I continue to remain at heart the peacenik I was in the 70’s. The peacenik I was when Bush wanted to go into Iraq. I remain the same, I believe we should be looking for diplomatic solutions, offering aid to those affected by war and staying out of armed conflicts unless we are attacked.

  2. Asking tough questions usually helps to get to the assumptions which is a great starting point. In my last job, one of the key things I learned was to make sure that any actions taken would do no harm. The perceived need for action would sometimes tempt people to do things that actually would make the situation worse.

    In the case of Syria, on both political and human levels, there don’t seem to be any obvious or reasonable answers. Someone wise enough to come up with creative solutions needs to step forward and it probably needs to be a long-term perspective.

    I too have tried to figure out how some posts get more reaction than others. The only brain wave I could figure out was summer holidays. But here’s a thot. I couldn’t find an email contact on your blog. It might be good to give readers a non-public way to respond to some of your challenging posts.

    1. Lyle, your comments always get me thinking. While I can appreciate that readers may not wish to comment on my posts, I do see comments on dozens of other blogs that suggest people don’t really have that much of an issue with making their opinions public.
      I’ve considered what you said about giving an email address for those who prefer to respond in a more direct manner, and even if I had an NSA approved Spam Blaster 5000 firewall, receiving email from shy readers isn’t something I think I could manage without a staff. However, I recognize the need to share ideas in a positive and productive manner and have provided a link below for that purpose. Thanks for the suggestion.
      http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    1. I think it puts people in an impossible position when they are told that if they don’t support an armed conflict that they support mass murder, that they are anti-American or that they are against the men and women in uniform. What kind of choice is that to give to people who are just trying to provide for their families and get through the day, people who would rather live and let live? When I see recruiting commercials, it makes me want to ask why they don’t show images of veterans waiting for benefits, waiting for services that in no way come close to the quality they deserve? In no way come close to the services that elected officials receive. FOR LIFE. Why they don’t show what those proud parents have to contend with when their child comes home unable to cope and commits suicide. Yes, there are hard questions. Questions that deserve to be answered.

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