Yes. Lately this space has been more focused on the social analysis with a bit of lean towards the politics. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise really. These things are tightly related, and they are important also. But, really, what of any true importance is new in the news lately?
Are we going to rehash the gun argument? Right now, I’m tired of arguing with those on the right who would like to pick and choose from the 2nd Amendment so that they re-write it into a new version without any intelligence or reason, and who are too ignorant (or just plain stupid) and somehow think that because I am unabashedly liberal that I am a “gun grabber”. Those who do not listen to what I have said, or read what I have written, but somehow think they know. These are generally people who are too blinded by their own positions to actually hear anyone else anyway. I am equally tired of arguing with people on the other side who inveigh about the need to enact better controls, but aren’t actually willing to do anything more than bitch and moan about it. So, no, I don’t think so.
The Benghazi incident? There is no larger political story there, folks. This is yet another manufactured crisis that Fox news has made up to attack the center right and try to drag things even further to the right. Enough about that.
No, today, we’re going to talk about divisiveness. I’ve written on this as parts of other topics. I cannot with any real honesty say whether this is increasing or not. It is my feeling that it is. Yet, I also suspect that it only seems that way, and to anyone who has been paying attention, we have always been very divided.
In looking back through history, and I am not going to be teaching a history course today, we see a long line of division used as distraction. Divide and conquer, no? We go all the way back to our earliest, most basic pack days and we find those classic divisions of “us” and “them”. Now, we are still dividing and classifying. To some extent this is necessary and useful. It aids in our survival, for example, to know who our friends and our opponents are if we are actually in a combat situation.
The problem though is that we often make too large a category. As I was listening to NPR’s All Things Considered the other day, I was struck by this again. It was about the actor, Riz Ahmed, but it was only really about him, because of a newly released movie, Reluctant Fundamentalist. Anyway, the point is this bit from that 5 minute story:
And it’s no surprise that Ahmed is making his American debut with a film as bold as The Reluctant Fundamentalist. It’s about the current fault lines between East and West, Muslim and American, ‘us versus them.’ Those deeper themes fueled director Mira Nair.
Did you catch that or are you so inured to this very problem that you missed it? I’m going to let that sit for a minute. We’ll come back.
Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine on Facebook. It was brief, but it was the same issue. It was started by his posting of a meme of support for Lt Colonel Matthew Dooley. You may or may not have heard of Lt. Col. Dooley. To those on the far right, Dooley is being presented as a holy martyr. (Despite the incident of his martyrdom having happened a year ago.) He spent years in the US Army, graduating from West Point in 1994, and serving “with distinction” since, including teaching at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va from 2010 until his removal in 2012. Those are the bare facts. What is being circulated from there by the right is that he is being persecuted by, and I quote my right-wing friend on this one, “Our pro-Jihadist President”. He is being targeted, the
lie, er, argument goes because, “The course “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” ,which was suggested and approved by the Joint Forces Staff College, caught the attention of several Islamic Groups, and they wanted to make an example of him. They collectively wrote a letter expressing their outrage, and the Pro-Islamic Obama Administration was all too happy to assist.”
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