So I had an epiphany Friday night while watching the debate–
How much do we really know about what is happening in the Middle East?
I think I’ve heard a dozen different stories about what exactly is going on and how I should feel about it. There is so much propaganda on both sides of the war that I feel like reality is being lost and we are all just using whatever information we can get our hands on to get our points across. I’m not going to pretend I know about foreign policy. I pay taxes to pay those that know much more than I do. I do know that borders mean nothing in most places. There are countries that have been broken up within boarders and certain ethnic groups living within these territories get screwed because they are either underrepresented or not represented at all. Or they get split up into two or several different territories on account of the ruling party’s (or another ruling country’s) disregard. I also understand that the American ideals do not stretch into other parts of the world. I have finally experienced this first hand in Asia and plan to see it in Turkey soon. People do not uphold human rights and democracy as first priority in many places. We are ridiculous to assume that other countries should be able to uphold a democratic nation in a few years when it has taken us centuries to get to this point and it is still not perfect. We still do not uphold human rights in perfection. Even if all parts of a country were completely nonresistant to as drastic a change as moving from dictatorship to democracy, it would take many resources and much time. There is no instant reform.
Now, pertaining to Iraq, I have heard what the Bush Administration says about it. We need to focus there. They will be a great ally in the war against terror. We need to win there as a big step in the war on terror. War on terror. Blah blah. I’ve also heard what my own party has said about it: it was a mistake, we are misdirecting our focus in the war on terror. We are spending too much money there when we are failing in domestic policy. We need to get out as soon as safely possible. The war on terror is better fought in Afghanistan where major terrorist organizations are located. I’ve heard military friends tell me their experiences. They feel like they are glorified babysitters in a poor sweltering country where they are unwanted. People hate and fear them because they wear American uniforms. They are bored and restless and are sick of constantly watching their backs and feeling like they have no strategy for staying or leaving. And then I read articles about Iraqi leaders saying they want U.S. troops out and are thinking about giving us a time line to leave. They would rather be talking to Iran than America and respect their international policies better than ours.
And then there is Israel. What is the big deal about it? Americans can’t get enough of them, Iran wants to wipe them off the face of the earth. I realize that the area is prime to control trade, allies, nuclear weapons, etc. But other than strategic placement for the conflicts taking place there, how are they an asset or a burden to anyone? I feel like Israel is some kind of red herring but no can figure out what its supposed to be distracting us from.
There is so much relativity going on in these situations. There is no way for me to actually know in truth what is more correct to believe unless I go see everything for myself. But even then I’m seeing it from a skewed perspective– I want to see our taxes spent elsewhere. Yes, it is a purely selfish reason. But I work hard for my money and I’m not seeing any of it come back to benefit me. I have no health insurance, no college grants, there are potholes in my streets, parking tickets are ridiculously expensive, my school and work have no budget because my state leaders cant come to a compromise, and I can barely afford food, rent, and gas every month because the people I pay to run the country are stuck in a corporate-ass-kissing sickness. It’s sad that I focus on my own struggles when others have it so much worse, but that’s the price of a capitalistic country: a sense of ownership. We want it that way so we better deal with the consequences. Period.
Please vote this election. It’s not hard to do. It’s the only say you get for the next four years because as far as I’m concerned you shouldn’t complain if you didn’t vote. As much as I railed on Obama for his mantra for change, I’m really wanting some change right about now.