In a country where you have the right to say and believe whatever you want, you do NOT have the right to not be offended.
Popped popcorn. Real popped popcorn, not the stuff in the bag that tastes like salt and yellow. Real butter, kosher salt. Tasted real.
So now the ugly racists are rearing their heads. They can’t seem to separate the actions of a man and his organization from an entire race and religion. Perhaps they need to look at it another way…
Perhaps we should level Rome in retaliation for the ‘Christians’ who firebomb abortion clinics. Maybe go on a church-to-church revenge-driven rampage everytime some nut with a gun takes a shot at a doctor who is for all intents and purposes doing something wholly legal.
Or perhaps in response to the Oklahoma City bombing we should take to the streets and pull every white guy with a buzz cut and a pickup truck out and kick their asses. Send them the message that we won’t tolerate their ideals, let them know they aren’t welcome here. Send them back to Idaho and Michigan with the rest of their crazy militia brethren.
Doesn’t seem quite right, does it? We aren’t going to raze the Vatican just because a group of people with similar religious ideas did something contrary to our laws. And we are able to say that just because someone wears the sames clothes, has the same haircut and likes the same automobile as Timothy McVeigh, they don’t necessarily subscribe to his beliefs.
The retaliatory racism is the one thing that pushes my pain to anger. Blinding, white anger. It is the one thing that could possibly cause me to become violent, and I don’t like that feeling.
While it is hard to be a pacifist in this country, it is equally hard to be an atheist. Again, I hadn’t really defined my lack of religious beliefs too much before this happened, but now I have to. Technically, I don’t call myself an Atheist because I feel that as a group Atheists tend to be as religious as believers, but their religion revolves around non-religion. I just don’t believe that there is anything greater out there. I don’t believe there is some sort of anthropomorphic being that made dinosaurs and seals and cryptic rules about sex and people and hatred and love.
If you were to say, “but the coral reef is beautiful, certainly there must be some design in that.” Okay, maybe there is a design or a plan (which I doubt, but say there is), that still doesn’t translate down into ‘someone’ you can’t see who makes up alot of contradictory rules and events.
Back to my point. It is hard to be a non-believer right now because there are calls to pray for the victims and their families. Pray to give them comfort. I feel somewhat selfish and guilty by not praying, by not giving something of myself to these people in so much pain. Unfortunately, I think that the ultimate benefit goes to the one praying. In their prayers, they find comfort for themselves, they can hand their pain to their God and find some sort of peace.
I can’t do that. Many times over, before and after these terrible times, I have wished I could believe. Believers look so comforted by their knowledge of a merciful God; I can’t have that comfort and so the pain sits in my chest and in my throat and in my head. And if I chew on this pain, it will become vicious anger, so I don’t.
Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against believers as a whole, they believe because they can and I envy them. My mother, who I love dearly (even if she makes me a little nutty), is a devout Catholic and I respect her and her beliefs and would defend them if the time comes.
John Scalzi says, “It’s not exactly a good time to be a pacifist in America,” and he is right. I hadn’t ever thought of myself as a pacifist, just someone who doesn’t really like war and fighting and death, but this week has forced me to think about who I am and what I believe in. Am I a coward? No. Anyone who knows me well would have to know that I would risk life and limb to save human life, they know I would defend them at any cost. The key word is defend. Defend yourself against immediate threats and use your intelligence to prevent future ones.
This is not to say that deep inside me I don’t have the base urge to find those responsible and tear them apart. On the other hand, government is better than that, they are not supposed to give in to our animal side, but deliver us from all that is base, common and popular.
The people of Afghanistan do not support this action; they did not put it in motion. One man and his organization and maybe some other organizations did, but not the mothers and the fathers and the children of a terribly poor, drought-ridden country. Instead of the clinical ‘Collateral Damage’ that would be the result of long range ‘smart’ missiles, let’s take every single human victim in the target area and shoot them in the head. The people who start this war should not get the comfort of ‘Collateral Damage’, but should have to take each person, each mother, each father, each child look them straight in the eye and put a bullet in their head. The end result is the same, the people are still dead, but you don’t get to lie in bed smug with the satisfaction that you did something good today. You get to go to bed and dream of the tear-soaked faces, the unanswered questions and the please for mercy.
You are right, the terrorists didn’t have to consider each of their victims before they set this terrible plan in motion. Are we then just terrorists with nicer offices and better spin control?
And, yes, John, I would drive that ambulance to the front lines. I would do everything I could to save the lives in front of me. Not just our brave soldiers, but the ‘enemy’ as well. If I could I would save them all.
On a side note, if we as a nation are so ready to fight terrorism where it starts, perhaps we need to open our eyes to the School of the Americas and the terrorists it turns out to serve our own nationalistic and ‘democratic’ purposes.