Expressing my experience. I have nothing else to offer. Well, other than not killing others in the belief that, because they aren’t a part of my team, they do not deserve to be on this earth.
The Twitterverse is alive and overflowing with “thoughts and prayers” for victims in Paris. I don’t feel I need to add another snowflake to that avalanche of ineffectual (though understandable) “wish-thinking-in-service-of-empathy.” Instead, I’m going to offer the voice of a “Who.” Why should anyone give a shit about what I think? I don’t know. I don’t know that anyone will care at all. But I must express, and hope that expression will bring others to share their voice, in the further hope that somewhere in the universe there is a good-willed elephant coming to save us from ourselves.
In horror, I turn to comedy for relief and insight. Today, Stewart Lee brings that to me. Wow… Smart! Subtle! Nuanced!**
In the wake of the attacks on Paris… Nay, in the wake of 14 years since 9/11… I find myself in exactly the position Stewart Lee describes, from 0:00 through 2:01.
Bah…84% of you won’t understand! 😉
No matter what I write, I know in advance I will face two equally undesirable responses:
One group will shout, “Islamophobe!” Criticism or analysis implying religious indoctrination has anything to do with the attacks will not be countenanced by these ostriches. “Why must you insist on bringing religion into this…focus on the “real” causes?”
Another group will say, though my point will contain NO such thought, “Fuckin’ right! It’s about time we put those Muslims in their place!! Kill ’em all! Hoo-Rah. Christians unite!” The irony-receptors are shot in these Neanderthals who cannot understand that the root of the problem lies precisely in uncritical, unbridled, support of one’s own team. It lies in a re-written, sanitized or forgotten history: indoctrination can lead (and has led!) to exactly the same horrendous acts in the name of Jesus.
(Musical Interlude: “Ostriches to the left of me, Neanderthals to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”)
There’s a common thread…
It’s a tough conversation, and even tougher to untangle peaceably. ALL sides take personal offense when asked to consider that some element of what they have woven into their identity might be contributing to the horrors we witness. But if we don’t start trying a little harder, our descent into social destruction and flat out war will continue unabated.
The cause? Like a “Who” seeking to reach Horton, I can only express and hope others join in the shout, uniting to seek peace and sanity by minimizing the cause:
Isolated indoctrination undermines social stability. We each, individually can try to broaden our exposure to other ideas, cultures. Collectively, we can insist on broad education as a facet of a sound society, just as we support collective roads and clean drinking water as “good” for ALL of us. I believe we would benefit immensely if each of us, and our government, worked to reduce isolated indoctrination, and absolutely under no circumstance support it financially through redistribution of tax funds.
Allowing groups to indoctrinate their children in isolation and segregation…if you allow the us/them hatred to be implanted without counter-balance or exposure to other views, you can be guaranteed our future holds much more of the same fanatical killing, in the name of one group or the other: Muslim, Christian, American Exceptionalist… Makes no difference. You will hate the “other” if all you are exposed to is your own team shouting about how evil the other is. Ideas matter in a person’s later choice of action.
Sects left to their own devices, regardless of the particular flavor, will isolate and indoctrinate. “Give me the boy until 7, and I’ll give you the man,” St Ignatius Loyola is reputed to have said. It is painfully true, and destructive of peace and society.
Disagree? Well, at least you can enjoy 9:11 of sublime comedy genius. (“Wait…Duuude!! It’s nine-eleven minutes!!! That must be part of the conspiracy!”)