With the month of Ramadan starting, I must contemplate on world events. “Terrorism” has become a primary concern of people, overriding common sense in some cases. (Cat Stevens not being let into the US anyone?) However, masked underneath this relatively minor issue, I see something more insidious at work. To the south of the border, I see childishness and immaturity creeping into society and it scares me. It scares me because I fear the same is to happen to my own country.
Have you ever watched Fox News? Admittedly biased, it serves as a source of news for people who want to see things from an American neo-conservative prespective. It is very popular, more popular than the older CNN (Cable News Network). Forget for an instant the “Neo Conservatism”, or whatever label is attached to it; do you see the wider issue? To me, this is a symptom of grown adults, in the world’s only superpower, wanting to see things from their prespective, irrespective of “fact”. A dangerous scenario, to be certain. When an institutional bias is thrown into the news, entire generations of people can be tainted with pseudo-fact, which will be passed on to future generations. Perhaps this was forgivable in ancient times when untainted, unbiased news sources were unavailable. But can such a thing be said for people living today, when you can literally talk to anyone at any place at any time? I surmise that it is arrogance, a filthy sin which laid Satan himself low before God, a scourge that has always blighted man in one way or another, that has led to this. Arrogance that prevents us from listening to competing viewpoints, because somehow being wrong robs us of our dignity. It disgusts me, but this arrogance must be a part of me too (as much as I would like to hide it)
Any sane human being, who maintains a pretext of fairness, will say that there are flaws in embracing a philosophy to the point where the proper actions and righteous deeds of any other person from any other philosophy is disregarded. This applies to religion as well as politics. The American system is based on the adversarial binary system of Democrats versus Republicans. There are people who vote independents, and those who vote against their party affiliation, but judging from what I have seen in online debates, these are small numbers as compared to the thoughtless drones who would embrace only one or the other. Go to http://www.allspark.com, and take a look at the wasteland that is their “political debate”. The entire “debate” there boils down to posts giving their own list of grievances with one guy and ignoring facts which hold their own party’s politicans in a negative light. This nearly-thoughtless attachment to their party, without accepting any real criticism based on fact is a blight upon any real democracy.
Honest debate does not seem to be in fashion during this fall of 2004. Alas, some might say it never was! Human beings, however, have a propensity to claiming noble words to describe their base actions. How else can one describe the filthy name-calling and daily exchange of lies that characterises political discussion? For example, what is a “Flip-Flopper”? Is it really an insult that someone can change their mind on something based on the situation and to proceed accordingly? Is it not the purpose of honest debate to convince the opposing party, without the loss of honour on either side, that one’s solution to a problem would result in a better outcome than that of the opposition? How can there be debate if no one is moved by the words that are being exchanged? Rather than debate, being in such a state of thoughtless unchanging stubbornness is the mark of children and fools. My intellect recalls an instance in my science class where a female professor of some repute would recount a simple rule of thumb that governed life in all its forms; the simple, “Evolve or die”. Every human being must allow for the possibility of the evolution of his thoughts, lest he be swept aside before a new situation that his old thoughts could not deal with; or even worse, lest he be villified by history for having tried to stop new thoughts which could have prevented misery and suffering.
Imagine a battleship, surrounded by vessels sworn to its destruction; imagine it stubbornly continuing to attack despite being bombarded at all sides. The end result is obvious; the battleship would be sunk, and the crew would be lost or captured. Although there is a certain honour and dignity to fighting until the very end, the resulting loss of life and one’s nation’s property is an undeniable a negative outcome. What if the captain had tried retreat? Tried negotiations? Tried something, anything, to get out of that situation? Did the captain of said vessel contemplate it? One can respect a man who seriously contemplates all alternatives before making his choice. However, the key word is “serious”. It is all too often that ideas are casually dismissed without appropriate contemplation. Perhaps this example, involving split-second timing seems inappropriate to the reader; but if the captain of such a vessel was to contemptuously retort that he would not show his back to the enemy when retreat is suggested, than he is nothing to be admired; rather a selfish cretin who values his own “honour” (if such a word could be used) over the life of his crew. Such a man, such a politician, should only find home in a museum to be stared at in silent horror.
Unfortunately, it seems the common vulgar element of society confuses stubbornness with strength, giving leaders no choice but to “stand firm” when a different approach is required. Although it would seem that I am defending John Kerry, I honestly did not intend to do that; rather, in a way, I am defending George Bush. How can he change his course of action without losing face when faced with such an alarmingly childish electorate?
In abandoning true debate and thinking for thoughtless allegance to outmoded ideas, Americans might dig their own grave. Although this might sound like something I should be happy about, I am no such thing. On the whole, I’d rather live in a world influenced by America rather than a country such as China. After all, even if America is overrun by children, anyone can choose to become an adult by simply opening their eyes. In a dictatorship, the state opens your eyes and tells you where to look.