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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Steamship Earth

The world politic is a slow moving engine. It grinds against itself on intricate gears, threatens to overheat, and operates in a way few people understand. Most of its citizens couldn't draw one of the engine's pistons with a crayon, let alone diagram the entire thing on a drafting table. Simply put, we--and notice I include myself--don't know diddly about how this world works.

Like 99% of the people I know (the percentage is probably higher), I am painfully ignorant on the finer points of foreign policy. With that in mind, I don't feel at all comfortable taking a position on a war with Iraq.

America is made up of schoolyard bullies, peaceniks, and the generally confused. The bullies are war hawks. The peaceniks are blind. And the generally confused have no way of knowing what is right.

I count myself among the generally confused.

It was a lot easier for all of us when a loosely-defined but identifiable group of people used our own machines to destroy our own buildings. Even dogs who've been friendly all their life will bite if you try to hurt their puppies. Going to war against terror wasn't that hard...even for the peace-minded.

But going to war with a country--a country full of civilians--isn't quite as easy. We have a hard time understanding what they have done to merit a two-ton bomb blast in their backyard.

The war hawks and peaceniks do nothing to help us, the generally confused, get a grip on what is proper. You can scream 'fight for freedom.' You can scream 'fight for peace.' Unless you explain to me why I should do either, I have a hard time accepting your position.

Unfortunately, I don't see this situation improving. If you fight for peace, you're respected by the cultural elite. If you fight for freedom, you're a patriot.

And if you sit on the fence trying to look down on both sides and find great truths in the shadows of the Sean Penns and Donald Rumsfelds, you'll spend your short life staring into darkness.

I wish there was a solution. There are schools where one can go and learn about math, literature, and science. But there are few schools outside the United Nations where one can learn what is right in wrong in the engine of the world politic.

I have a hard time respecting things I don't understand. And right now, I don't understand much of anything anyone is saying.

I don't think I'm an idiot. I think I just realized that I'm like most regular people in this world.

This kind of ignorance is not bliss.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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