Friday, September 6, 2013

Into the Fray I Go

Stop making it an 'either or' morality issue. It is neither this nor that. Otherwise, none of us would eat until all of us could eat. None of us would drink until we all had water. No babies would die of diseases for which there are known cures. No grandmothers would lie in waste unattended. New Orleans would be rebuilt. We'd still be working on Indonesia and Haiti. We'd be just as disgusted by the deaths of thousands upon thousands of black people in Africa as we are brown people in the Middle East - which is to say, we're not much about either. Pomposity and arrogance have no place here, nor do politics, so show them all out of the room. The suggestion that the colonists fought our revolution alone against the mighty British to win our own independence is at once absurd and comical. We didn't. Read a damn book. The President is wrong now to suggest intervention? I thought the President was wrong before when he suggested we wait. He was wrong to wait and wrong to wait so long? But he would have been wrong to intervene in the first place? Make up your mind - and for crissakes do us all a favor and don't speak it until you have something of value to contribute. Try thinking first. I'm bemused to see congress spending so much time doing a little of that now - with what I believe to be limited capacity. Seems to me we might be in a better position to help the people of Syria, who clearly need it, had we not wasted so much foolish intervention in places where we were neither wanted nor needed, at least not to this degree. Had our congressional representatives been doing their jobs all along, we might have a stronger case for or against without the litany of 'we can't afford it' arguments which accompany this simple question: should we or shouldn't we?

So I'll tell you this: certainly, we can. We can and I know we can because I spent the last five years doing what 'couldn't be done' pretty damn well. I paid my bills, fed my children, kept us clothed, celebrated occasions, read books, painted my nails, maintained a tidy home and loved my family, and I did it all with one third of the income to which I'd grown accustomed. "Can't afford" is a bullshit argument.

I'll also tell you this: if someone is pouring acid on your neighbor's child and you are walking down the street and see it and you don't do something you're an asshole and a heathen. If someone is doing the same to your neighbor's neighbor, the same holds true. If President Obama were gassing the people of Little Rock and the people of Toronto were watching it on TV clucking to themselves and did nothing - same. Don't kid yourself into thinking otherwise.

Now - are we the only ones on the line? Can anyone else jump in to help that child or save that woman? We are not and, yes, someone else could. But if they don't and we're still standing here letting it play out in HD we bear the burden.

So the real question is: what are you willing to trade for the safety of the Syrian people? Will you give up your son or daughter? That'd be a big one. How about your property values? Your retirement? Your ability to use tin foil or fill up your car with gas? Are you willing to give up anything to help them out?

How about skipping Syria and getting real about all the African nations in crisis? What? No oil money in the desert? So it's o.k. for their babies to die generation after generation, right? How about all the kids who die right here in my hometown because we're so obsessed with Ted Nugent-esque staunch about our right to be belligerent with military-grade weapons against elk?

Seriously. I'm not saying we should or shouldn't go. I'm saying we should have the real conversation. And then we should go.

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