This is my first post on the BBQ pit. I never thought I’d do it, but maybe it’ll turn out to be therapeutic.
I want to know if there are any more Dopers out there who just feel hopelessly enveloped by a world full of people who already know all the answers. The people who “know” that the other side is at fault, and no (or very little) blame is due to them. The ones who seem to believe that some countries can carry out certain actions, though for another to reply in kind is disgraceful. The people who believe that there is nothing subjective in the word “terrorism.”
To be clear, I’m talking about people on all sides. I’m talking about red-state patriots who are sure that Islam is inherently violent and that there is nothing political about religious fanaticism, the Muslim who is sure that all Americans/Westerners are greedy/violent/immoral, and the Chinese person who doesn’t think of people when he talks about Taiwan (and vice versa), just some abstract, rogue territory.
I feel more and more that I’m one of the people who is actually trying to sort these things out, trying to see the nuance. So often, these black-white-world people I talk to have never left the country, or they have never made an effort to mingle in the country they are in.
Yes, I pride myself on the fact that I have gone out in the world. I have lived abroad several times (and will be leaving again in a month). I have strived to understand what “they” are like and who “we” are. The problem, is that the more people I meet and the more places I go, the less I understand the distinction between “us” and “them.” I just see a world, largely, full of people who want to get by.
But, there was a bomb on a plane today. The bombers, I suppose, were set on striking out against a monolithic, monochromatic enemy, while I’m sure plenty of people are waking up here in the US struck by the fear of what they see as a homogenous enemy that needs to be uniformly wiped out.
Yet, I feel that the answer is so much more complex and simple at the same time. Complex because it requires a concerted effort to look at things from all sides. Simple, because it’s not hard to understand why people do a lot of things they do when you put yourself in their shoes. I don’t mean accept what other people do, only understand.
I’m just rambling. What am I getting at?
I feel like there are millions of people in the world who are forming their understanding of the world based on a system of images, stereotypes, and preconceptions. Worse still, I feel that there are fanatics who never stop to question.
Then, stuck in the middle, there are people who think, well, everybody’s at fault, but to try to express that is preposterous to a lot of others. You’re either for Israel or against it. You’re either with us or against us.
You can’t simply be for everyone, and place fault where you see it, which is pretty much everywhere.
I feel a little better.