Monday, May 17, 2004

Call me a Doughnut

I just read the Kurt Vonnegut article Bob pointed to in this post. I love this quote from the piece.

Even crazier than golf, though, is modern American politics, where, thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
Which one are you in this country? It's practically a law of life that you have to be one or the other? If you aren’t one or the other, you might as well be a doughnut.

I like the article a lot but I think it fails in the end when saying the Iraq war is just about oil. I think it's a lot more complicated than that. I think it’s based on a lot of thing, including fear, revenge, impatience and a national belief in manifest destiny.

I'm not a big fan of Michael Moore but I tend to agree with the general premise of his Bowling for Columbine movie, in that a lot of Americans are afraid and this fear leads to a lot of selfish behavior. In the Columbine movie he was talking about gun violence but I think the mindset's the same albeit a step removed in this case with the weapon of choice being the military. A lot of people in the US are afraid of terrorists and so are accepting of any action against them, even if it means we hurt a lot of people in the process.

There's also a revenge factor and I'm not talking about President George W. Busch being angry with Hussein for attempting to assassinate his father. I think at a national level most Americans are ticked off that Hussein failed to act defeated after we kicked his ass in the first Gulf War. I think that made a lot of the population mad and therefore supportive of another war.

I also believe our short national attention span has contributed to support of this war. After 9/11 we wanted action. Kicking the snot out of Afghanistan didn't make us feel better and we didn't want to be patient and work with the UN. Any long drawn out solution, whether it be wiser or not, would have been a hard sell politically.

My last item, manifest destiny, is probably the hardest to backup but it's based on my own conversations with patrons of a local watering hole. A lot of people just feel it's our right - be it because we are, powerful, Christian, or just because we are Americans to wage war against Iraq. No deep cares about the long term consequences - just turn the place into a glass bowl.

Now this essay may make it appear I'm against this war, but I actually not. I don't want to go into my own reasons but suffice it to say it's not just because I'm addicted to oil or I’m a conservative – remember I’m a doughnut.

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