Dear Church Secretary,
I’ve been trying for a while to articulate good responses to your comments here and not quite succeeding. But I have been mulling. And now I’m on drugs, so I feel compelled to try.
And here’s what troubles me.
In general, I believe you. That we do run roughshod over the rest of the world and our foreign and economic policies don’t always work for the betterment of the whole world. And I get that people are angry at us and that they feel like their anger is justified. I also get that some of them are so angry and feel so helpless that they’ll strike out in whatever sick and fucked up way they can.
And so I see the logic in trying to diffuse the situation by being better global neighbors and trying to understand and counteract their anger.
But here’s what bugs me, and maybe it’s just because I don’t know enough about why the rest of the world hates us, but I suspect that appeasing the rest of the world is going to cost me more than it costs you.
Because, we can talk all the Lexuses and olive trees you want, what I see on the news are not people who hate us because we’re hogging all the resources. They hate us because we’re infidels, because we’re “brainwashed by the evil Jews”, because we ourselves are evil. But it seems to come down to the fact that we’re sinners and that we revel in our sinfulness.
Sure, we can pressure Israel and we can be better about other shit, but in the end, some folks, the folks willing to blow themselves up, don’t want us to exist.
My fear is that you think we should make some efforts not just to understand them, but to appease them. And I look at the things that seem to bother them, not just in our culture, but in their own, and those things are me–loose women with educations and minds of their own.
And I want to know how much of my freedom I’m going to be asked to curtail in order to make people who aren’t comfortable with my existence comfortable.
And until I have some assurances that I’m not going to be asked to behave in order to achieve world peace, I’m not sure I can get onboard with supporting any plans for it.
Update on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 07:16AM by Aunt B.
Argh. Y’all are answering thoughtfully my post which did not quite get at my deep concerns.
Here’s what concerns me. Not real people living in other parts of the world. I am concerned about the story we tell about who they are and what they want–that they “hate our freedom.” And I am concerned about the reasons for telling that story. The Church Secretary is right that part of a solution may be to just get used to and accept high gas prices (lord knows Andrew Sullivan would agree).
But you guys (CS and Sullivan) live in cities, with public transportation. What about most of the people in America who cannot afford housing closer to where they work, who need to drive to get there?
Do you really think that our economy is going to barrel on (so to speak) with gas prices climbing? If all discretionary income goes to gas…
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked.
I’m not concerned about what real actual people living on the other side of the world want Americans to do. I’m concerned about what other Americans will want me to do when they’re faced with tough economic times, a fear-mongering administration, and news channels driven by crisis after crisis.
I’m sorry. I’ve lived here long enough to see how we regularly offer witches up for sacrifice in order to try to appease forces beyond our control. And “make our women behave” is already a cultural imperative of ours and it’s one that meshes nicely with “They hate our immoral ways” and seems to me to point to “if we can control our women, maybe they won’t hate us so much.”
Considering how much we have to fight against “we need to control our women or God will be pissed” on the right, I just don’t want to see us lefties looking around for a scapegoat and landing on me as well.