Monday, October 19, 2009

Dinner With The Opposition

I had dinner with a group of friends last night and after generous doses of Cabernet for all of us, we fell to (apt expression!) talking politics. My opponents were of the opinion--and weren't shy about expressing it--that the only solution to our troubles is to get "them" before "they" get us. After all, "they" ran planes into the World Trade Center towers and killed Americans, didn't they?
No, "they" didn't, that was somebody else, but in this discussion--hey wait, that needs quote marks, too--"discussion," the point was moot. They're all "them," from those hot countries and their sole aim in life is not to get enough to eat, not to protect their children, not to live morally under their understanding of God--but to kill Americans. Why? Because they hate us for our freedoms, because they want to convert us to their religion, because they want to capture our oil reserves, because they're just cockamamie nut cases--who the hell knows?
The point here is that all my companions' anger, all their resentment, all their fears are directed toward people in other countries, the barely human, or certainly not as human as we Americans. "They" trashed the economy and took prayer out of schools, along with the dark hordes of illegal immigrants (and with the connivance of the gays and liberals), not the politicians and bankers. How do we know? Why, the media tells us, easily convincing the populace that all their troubles are caused by "them."
It's so quick and easy to cite Nazi Germany as an example--remarkably, both sides sometimes do, although they're arguing from entirely different premises. Often, the allusion is 'way off the mark, but here's one that isn't. It's Noam Chomsky, a calm, reasoned voice who alludes to that topic to great effect. I wish my dinner companians would take a look at this.



At October 19, 2009 9:05 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Mimi, you should read Winter Patriot's latest entry.

At October 19, 2009 10:07 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Mimi,
The Chomsky Fora TV snippet is apt.

the latest CNN poll on Afghanistan says that approximately 60 percent of respondents felt that the US presence there protected us from terrorist attacks here.

It's very discouraging to think that large numbers of people actually believe this, but apparently they do.

Glenn Greenwald's piece about a NY Times reporter who was imprisoned in by the Taliban is more useful, but I'm guessing it will barely enter the collective unconciousness, if at all.

At October 19, 2009 11:03 AM, Blogger rob payne said...

Hi Mimi,
A very thoughtful post. Thanks much for the Chomsky link as I always am interested in what he has to say. The news media drives me crazy sometimes. I was reading the NYT yesterday and there was a truly awful article regarding Israel and Gaza that was full of just plain misleading garbage meant to give the reader a completely erroneous view. The article not only left huge chunks of relevant facts out it also passed along lies without batting an eye. The NYT is supposed to be the best newspaper in the country so I really do blame the news media for the false version of reality they give of the world we live in. It really is little wonder that people have such mistaken views on current events.

At October 19, 2009 1:01 PM, Blogger Mimi said...

Just read the Winter Patriot post you mentioned,Charles, and thank you. Boy, that guy can write. How in the world, as he points out, is anybody ever able to learn the truth? I for one, can't toddle around the world investigating the claims of the government and media and you can be sure as hell my friends wouldn't go if they could.
Jon and Rob, my good Mennonite friend, Leslie R., sent me the link of Chomsky.

At October 21, 2009 6:29 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

I know this sounds a little like The Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but Wally Hilliard, who ran the flight school where Mo Atta allegedly learned how to fly airliners into large buildings, had business dealings that touch on Reverend Moon, Major General John Singlaub (of Iran contra for those of you young uns) and Jerry Falwell. He ran little airlines out of Florida that didn't do any business. And he had a plane busted in Orlando with over forty pounds of heroin on it (and he didn't get arrested!) while Mo was a student.

It may not shake someone from the belief that being in Afghanistan "protects" "us" from "them", but if nothing else it should give enough cause to some of the opposition to ask for another glass of wine.


Post a Comment

<< Home