Thursday, December 11, 2008

What's that golden rule thing again?

I can't believe this was deleted. Sorry to my commenters - I have no idea what happened.
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Anyone heard? Barack Hussein Obama won’t drop his middle name - GOOD. Nobody else has over the past two years, why the hell should he?

But that’s not his reasoning. His rationalizations are that we need to get over our prejudices and realize that “Muslim” does not equal “terrorist.” We need to send a message to the rest of the world that we’re not all idiots, that there is change in this country, that George Bush and his administration is no longer in town. Not really.

What’s disheartening is that there are so many out there who will grumble and grouse about this, the same people who made such a point to use his middle name during the campaign season will flinch at this move….well, maybe not this move but the point in which it’s being made.

The fact that it’s even an issue says something. While the prejudices against the Muslim community are probably somewhat more mild than before - at least in my experience - it is here. It always brought to mind what happened with Pearl Harbor and the Japanese internment camps.

Equating a man with an untimely middle name with “terrorist” is horrifying commentary on American culture. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Let’s get over ourselves, focus less on the Muslim (and even Arab) communities at large and deal with the extremists. Arabs and Muslims are not all extremists. Let’s first understand that. It would then do us some good to try to understand the extremist mindset.

My husband took a few classes on genocide and terrorism over the last few years. He spoke with me about it at length (I also typed up his papers), and the real point to be made is this: Extremists are not so much insane as they have a really, really, different view on the world. We see them as insane, and by our standards they absolutely are. Too many people do not want to see these extremists as human, though. You start humanizing people and - gasp - you start feeling a smidgen of compassion. Psssh, stupid liberals.

But we cannot change nor defend ourselves against that which we do not understand. It feels better to call them terrorists and dehumanize them because that is exactly what they’ve done to us. A little research into our own little domestic terrorists, be they the Una bomber or even kidnappers, murders and rapists will tell us that the best defense against those who would hurt us is to make them see us as human.

It’s actually one of the more important aspects of rape defense. You start talking about your family, whose waiting for you at home, what your favorite color is, etc. You fight like hell to get that person to see you as human because at that moment they do not and it is much easier to hurt that which you do not empathize with. It’s also a way they train our military - they dehumanize the enemy. They did it in WWII and in Vietnam. You’d be surprised to hear how many of our soldiers do not have the courage to pull the trigger. The military gets their soldiers over that by dehumanizing those they target.

I fear most in power get this bit of wisdom but don’t want to understand. They want to hurt, and so do we. We want revenge. We want to torture. I get that. I feel it. But it’s childish. It isn’t right - and what’s that Christ says about loving our enemies? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be okay with how we’ve acted. Treat others the way we’d want to be treated. Compassion might seem like more tree hugger philosophy, but it works. As a Christian people, shouldn’t compassion trump carnal desires? Seriously. I wonder about some of my more conservative counterparts when it comes to this stuff. Is it just mere convenience to forget about those the thousand stripling warriors were defending? those who loved their enemies so much they laid down their weapons and resigned to death instead (See Alma 24:17)? We’re always admiring them in Sunday School. I’m not suggesting this is what we should do - we should absolutely defend ourselves, but the fact that we speak of these people in reverent tones and then forget about it once church is over tickles me to death. Is it that we really think that compassion is only for the dude who cut us off in traffic the other day…? I don’t know.

For real homeland defense, we need to get over our prejudices and start understanding our enemies. We need an ounce of compassion or we cannot expect to get any in return. There are books abound written about this. The most recent being promoted is Michael Alexander’s “How To Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq

If you want a transcript/story of a recent interview with the author, go here - even Fox News’ Sean Hannity can't seem to get around this guy. It's fabulous.

I’m thrilled Obama takes pride in his name and wants to make a point. Good for him. I’m so proud to have voted for this man. He’s already changing things for the better, and the timing couldn’t have been better. People are ready. I am.

This post has also been submitted to Mormon Democrats where I am a contributing blogger.


Lisa said...

Here are the two comments I received before my entry was mysteriously deleted.

Amanda: The equating of Muslim or Arab with Terrorist is horrible. My sister is married to a Muslim Palestinian refugee, and she is having to fight like the devil to get him a green card to come over here so they can both work on their masters degrees. Everything you've said here is so right. All that about how human and real the "terrorists" are is so right. We may not understand their world view, but that doesn't mean their view is wrong. No, I don't like people who blow up other people, but frankly, they think that WE'RE the terrorists! They see us blowing people up. They see us spreading the plague of secularism in the world, and of worldly appetites. They react against us the same way we react against them. We aren't too different in the end.

Lula O: I agree. Colin Powell said it too. It shouldn't matter if he's a Muslim, Christian, whatever.

I also find it ironic that when a race of people force fed our tray of crackers called democracy, react badly and call us invaders instead of liberators, we call them extremists.

Good grief. I'm tired of the US being the moral police. Who gives us the right of pick and chose who suffers and who doesn't? I say we either help no one, or help them all. Not just the ones that hold political interests, like oil for one.

Amanda said...

Mysteriously deleted, eh? Weird.