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Time is short

Steven Kohler

I’ve been obsessed with the news for about two years now. … Like most of you, I was looking almost entirely for things related to the war and terrorism. I was fascinated by all of it. The layers of history, the variety of opinions out there, the amount of hatred displayed, the tactical moves, the fear, the divisiveness, the pettiness, the propaganda game and the reactions to it, the facts, the lies, the killing, the morality, the immorality. So many ingredients to every war, you know?

It’s cause and effect and reaction to reactions, mixed with fear and misunderstanding on an infinitely complex and huge scale spanning centuries. So complex that it would take years of constant research and analysis to even get a handle on how narrow and filtered the slice of information is that you get from media. All sources of it. And it would likely take you the rest of your life to learn how to explain that fact to even one person who didn’t realize that already.

That realization, that despite being addicted to news from tons of American channels, at least five non-American channels, three Arab stations (Link channel on the dish) plus the sad ability to watch C-SPAN intently for hours and reading every paper I could find, I was still only seeing a tiny sliver of the pie. That realization leads to a lot of rage whenever I see any pundit in any zone advertised as spin free, screaming like a 2 year old at anyone who has something to say that is different from his closed mindset.

I don’t care if what the other said is total crap. Slamming someone for a different opinion by using the slander of the week is the best way to show ignorance. Hiding behind patriotism is so predictably shallow and unoriginal that a pundit who is doing so can only interrupt, distract, try to anger and ignore when cornered by facts. Or jump to his go-to idealisms about supporting the team, and the immorality of a man who questions the actions of OUR nation.

Have you ever met a man who refused to admit to his own actions, even to himself? That can be a scary thing. And have you ever met someone all too eager to jump on your case? That can be infuriating. The complexity and importance of our choices as a nation seem to be lost in a world of those two approaches.

This is a war, and we are fighting an enemy we hardly know. And obviously don’t know how to stop completely, if at all. That is a horrible time to keep up this bickering and blaming game that’s mostly for ratings. Our little raft is about at the waterfall and we are at each other’s throats or huddled in the corner, afraid to look too hard. Or even worse: making money off of the concern of the rest of us who are trying to live a life despite all this. We need to be paddling hard for the shore, not wasting time and money and human lives on fruitless battles like Iraq’s looking more like every day.

This war we are in is new to us. It’s not good versus evil. It’s a clashing of ideas between extreme capitalism and extra-ultra-extreme anti-capitalism. Why? Some see the overdevelopment and overuse of the planet as a bad thing and followed the money trail to the top where our country is No. 1. It’s a fact that we’re the largest consumers of everything. Right? It’s capital they hate, and this is the way they want to fight it.

Again, there is no time to dispute or blame any one administration or discredit or ignore the evolution of cultures who will act on disagreements. It is the state of the world right now and it’s not going to change real fast. Are you going to stop buying things and stop pursuing the American distraction (sorry, dream)? Didn’t think so. Is the government going to let terrorists change their actions? I’m guessing no.

So either get used to constant terrorist bombing and sabotage, like Israel, with Orwellean realities in response, or work hard and fast to find a third option. This is not an enemy we can bomb or spy away anymore. They know our country’s weaknesses better than you know your own and are wiling to use both to attack.

You might remember President Bush saying, “This is a threat unlike any we have faced.” There is nothing but truth in a statement like that. It’s time to wake up now, everyone. We need to deal with this, because this is much more real than anything on cable. Especially the news. By the way, if you remember watching TV on 9/11 you might remember the first question in your head was, “Why are they doing this?” All I’m going to add is if the A to that Q didn’t shake your soul apart, you’ve only heard a filtered slice of the REAL answer.

Steven Kohler


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