Saturday, November 06, 2004

"Hey, did you get that off my Xanga banner?"


ahahahaha. Sorry. Most definitely, Link_strife has the phrase, "Shades of Gray" on his page. But this is the title of a song by the Monkees from the 1960s--it should be playing if you are reading this on the comment page. And its a pretty common theme among "adults." Well, at least adults with a willingness to see the complexities of life, because as you know, and as everyone should realize, a world painted in black and white is simple, easy to follow, and ultimately dangerous.

When I was raising my daughter, I made sure that I painted her world in black and white. Yes, you must do as you are told. No, you must not lie. Yes, you must go to school. No, you must not fight in school. Black and white. Right and wrong. Ones and zeroes. Totally binary. But this I used to provide a foundation, a moral compass that would guide her in the general direction of North--right, good, lawful. But it wasn't meant to lead her in one direction irrespective of obstacles in her way, like cattle over a cliff. Is it wrong to lie? Well, yeah. But there are times when a lie is okay if it might spare someone's feelings. Is it wrong to fight? Well, yeah. But if you're fighting for a principle that you believ is right, then it's okay. If our forefathers didn't believe this, we'd still be a colony of England.

I am, of course, stating the obvious. Unfortunately, there are people to whom the concept gets muddled under stress, or under difficult situations. Yesterday, I spoke of how the world, in my view, is painted in varying shades of gray. I truly believe this, and no amount of terrorist act or Bush administration rhetoric is going to change that. The scary thing, of course, is that there are those who, willingly or not, knowingly or not, fall into step with this state of mind under the right (no pun intended) conditions. A comment left (again, no pun intended) by CultofDizzo makes this clear.

Shades of Grey?... That isn't how the terrorists think. They're not going to ask your party affiliation before they saw your head off on television. Or am I supposed to find some good in that?

No, there is no good in that. I think that these maniacs should be caught and punished for what they did. Damn, dude, I am pissed off too. But I also wonder, why are they doing that to us? Is it because we invaded their country? Is it because we maintain a military presence in a land they consider Holy? How would I feel if a battalion of Saudis stood guard on Wall Street claiming that they wanted to maintain the peace to protect their interest? And I'm sure they have a lot of interest invested in Wall Street. So there is some room for consideration, a kind of area that is not just black and white.

Don't get me wrong, now. I'm not saying that the US doesn't have business in the Middle East. We have just as much reason to be there as we have to be around oil drill sites in Alaska. But I believe that our military presence could be questioned by those who live there. No? Do you expect everyone to bow down and kiss the feet of the almighty Americans? Who among us is that arrogant?

The point I am trying to make is that there is room to question our actions. Are we doing the right thing? Can our actions evoke violent retalliation? And if so, should we respond in kind?

When 9/11 happened, I was pissed, as I believe most Americans were. I was willing, to a degree, to suspend the right of Arabs. Me! A Japanese American whose parents and relatives were the victim of the same suspension of civil rights. I am almost ashamed to admit this. But now, as cooler heads have prevailed, I have realized the idiocy of my position. Call me a flip flopper. But I, as an American who will exercise his right to change his mind when the situation demands it, will take a different position when I believe I am correcting a wrong one.

In any event, I do not condone their actions and indeed I believe they should be condemned for it. But should I react as they do? They seem to see things like you do, in black and white. Indeed, that is the one thing I have always viewed as ironic. The Bush administration manifests a mindset similar to the extremists. "If you're not with us, you're against us." Can you imagine if the Japanese had the same mindset? Forget about if its right or wrong; just focus on the mindset that the Bush adminstration and Islamic extrimists share: we're right, you're wrong. Geez, Japan could drop an A-Bomb on Seattle. I'm glad the Japanese see things in shades of gray. They realized that their way of thinking wasn't absolutely right, that perhaps there there are a number of things to consider and reconsider. They did not lower themselves to the extremists' level.

So, as for me, I may be the subject of ridicule. I may be labeled "unpatriaotic" by you and other US conservative, right extremists. But I'll take my own road, which I believe to be higher... And strangely enough, closer to God.... ahahhahaaha, just kidding. Okay, I'm gonna rot in hell for my blasephemy, but I would NEVER presume that any of us, Bush included, is a messenger of God, the recipient of somekind of heavenly mandate. If that is how Bush got elected, then I really have to consider moving...

No comments: