For the first time, I’ve begun to question the point of being on Facebook. I’m not saying I’m going to delete my account, but I’ve seriously begun questioning my engagement with it. I see a lot of expressions of anger about Paris, to name the latest event, and I agree because it makes me angry, too. But I still see people who just want to score points and win debates, and not genuinely engage different ideas.
I’ve been involved in these debates (about many things from gun control to muslims to healthcare, etc), and every time the debate devolves into name calling and “Gotcha!” boilerplate, and I’m fed the fuck up with it. You could say I have a very short fuse at this point, so to the people who have been on the receiving end of that last night, understand that’s just the culmination of things which have been simmering for a while when it comes to discussing political topics. I’m not here to play a fucking game of Debate 101; I’m actually trying to make sense of things and what can be done to make things better.
I have a lot of things that I want to say, but I just know some jackass is lying in wait to go after the slightest mis-phrasing or word they can twist around and say “GOTCHA! Point to ME!”, or use some name calling tag of “Libtard!” or some other fucking talking point without actually considering for a SECOND the true gist of what I’m trying to say, and honestly, I no longer have the slightest amount of patience or tolerance for it. Maybe I’m the same way and don’t realize it. I like to think I’m very open minded, but I also never take things at face value and prefer to study topics for myself to determine what’s true. And no…links to left-wing or right-wing websites NEVER convince me of a damn thing.
Some of the posts I’ve seen since the attacks in Paris are calling for us to “go after them”…but what are we going to do? We’re already bombing ISIS, or did you not know that? Who else are we going to bomb? All of them? Everyone in the Middle East? Kick our ally Turkey out of NATO and bomb them? Bomb our ally Saudi Arabia? You realize that Iraq is actually our ally, too? How about the Kurds, some of our staunchest muslim allies? FUCK IT, BOMB THE FUCKERS. Can’t tell the difference!
Here’s the truth: the only way to finish off ISIS is not the bomb them, because we already are, and never has bombing alone settled any conflict. Ever. The only way to defeat ISIS is, guess what, ground troops. Bombing won’t settle a single thing. Only ground troops—and yes, American ground troops because nobody else will do it, face it—can end ISIS as a political force. I don’t think they can wipe ISIS out completely, because they’d just go underground like al’Queda, but they can be removed from their power base. So. Is everyone up for sending our soldiers back in? But guess what? That’s exactly what ISIS wants: they WANT us to send our troops in after them. It’s so twisted.
And I’ve tried in vain for a long time to defend muslims. I’ve tried to explain the differences between Shia and Sunni, Kurd and Arab, Turk and Persian…but nobody the patience for that kind of nuance. Just lump ’em all together; so much easier. Do I believe there are muslims who want to kill us? Well, duh, look what happened last night, shit. But I don’t believe every single muslim is a drone waiting to be activated into attacking every non-muslim around them. And I worry about the backlash that peaceful muslims—and NO, that is NOT an oxymoron, God help me you had BETTER NOT go there with me—are going to endure now.
And before you fucking think of saying it, I’m not ignoring what’s happened to all those Parisians. I am angry and sad about every one of them. Just earlier this week I shot an event where the French Deputy Consul from Chicago spoke, and there were many native French speakers attending. It was a very new experience for me, because I haven’t much face to face time with French people. It was very pleasant, and I thought about all of them when the attacks were taking place and how heartbroken they must be, because that’s their HOME. To be hanging out having a good time when that happens…it’s horrible. You know, something happening at the Royals parade was actually in the back of my mind the day of, so for me it’s not a matter of “oh, it can never happen here”; it’s just a sad reality we all have to accept. We just do. We can and should surveil all leads, and be vigilant in trying to prevent it. But we all need to understand this is the world we live in, and it’s actually not very new; innocent people have always borne the brunt of acts of war. I’ve already spoken at length too long in this post to talk about what my dad and his family went through when he was just five years old during the Battle of Manila when the Americans freed the Philippines in 1945. Innocent people die during war, and they always have. My point is to show that this is not what the world is coming to; it’s what the world always has been to some degree. Maybe there’s some solace to be taken in that, that this is not new, and that we’ve always managed to endure it and persevere.
Sorry that this post has gone on so long and is seething in anger. I spent last night not being scared of the future, like a lot of people on FB are right now, but angry at the present. I’m actually not very scared right now, but yes angry, but also sad. And if anybody has anything to say, or sees a good “GOTCHA!” debate point that they think can score because of an inflection I made that they think they can ram a talking point into…think very fucking carefully as to whether or not you want to go there with me, because like I said at the beginning, I have a VERY SHORT FUCKING FUSE right now when it comes to FB debating. Just fucking walk away. But if you have something constructive or insightful to add, by all means, I welcome it. B