succumbing to peer pressure

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Geeky Mom (who's description, "Raising children on nothing but brains and gadgets" I hope may one day apply to me) raises many a good point. First:
Watching Jon Stewart spar with Christopher Hitchens, I was struck by something that Stewart said. He said, "Not once has Bush or anyone in the administration come out and talked to us like adults. Instead he falls back on these platitudes that don't mean anything." And I thought, yes, that's it. We know it's a complex situation, even if we thought it was wrong in the first place, we're in it now. We deserve a discussion, a debate. We don't need "Mission Accomplished" or "We're making progress."
I was thinking this same thing this morning (ok, afternoon) while reading an article in the Times about parents of children killed in Iraq. The article was ostensibly about whether or not other parents agreed with Cindy Sheehan, but what I kept reading over and over was this hard, binary division - either you think the war is wrong and thus are aiding the terrorists and devaluing the sacrifices of our country's sons and daughters or you whole-heartedly support what we're doing and don't question the president or the rest of the administration (and thus honor our sons and daughters). I know that these sorts of divisions make snappy news articles and sound bites, but has our world really been so simplified? We're living in complex times, we are complex people, why can't we talk about these things? Is it really so impossible to think this war was misguided, to question my government, and yet still support and honor our troops? I don't have many close military ties, either through friends or family, so I don't know - when I argue that we were misled into this war, that our leaders are doing a poor job of organizing this fight, am I offending soldiers? Am I making their job harder? More dangerous? I get that when you're there, you have to buy into it, you must believe that what you're doing is important and right, because how else could you do your job? But is it really so hard to draw a line between supporting the people on the ground and not supporting the people who put them there?

And second:
I've been pushing politics to the back burner because I've felt helpless. I live in a blue state with red senators and congressmen. My local politics are also red. There are so many things I'm concerned about, I don't know where to start. Energy policy, women's rights, health care, education. All complex issues without easy answers, and I'd like for somebody to get the courage to start working on them. I'm holding my representatives to task when they get back to work in a few weeks.

Burn out is way too easy. Carrie's onto something with her focused anger.

And lastly, not from Geeky Mom, there's Operation Yellow Elephant: Blog Your Campus. The idea is simple enough - post signs or otherwise publicly expose the hypocrisy of young Reps and other conservatives who support a war they refuse to fight in. Although I partly agree with Easily Distracted's points about a similar tactic (it doesn't actually change much/anything, it opens the door for identical tactics from the 'other side') I still think it's a good, entertaining idea. Because, as Saul Alinsky instructs, to keep one's base motivated, one has to use creative, entertaining methods. And, I would argue, to maintain one's sanity in times like these, one needs to cling to a sense of humor (see burnout above). And sure, Reps and other conservatives are welcome to fight back in a similar manner. In the end, we're all hypocrits about something, it does us good to be kept honest and on our toes about our convictions and espoused principles, and, at least in my book, wit is always rewarded and appreciated, even when used against me.


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