Sunday, May 01, 2005

London calling

You know, maybe I'll become an ex-pat after all...okay, not really, but an undercurrent of relief is flowing beneath all of my anxiety. It's time for me to get the hell out of dodge for a little while, because I just can't take it anymore. Between the feature articles in this month's Harper's, the lecture by Bill Moyers I attended and the backpedaling by Microsoft, I've had all I can take of the fundamentalist movement. As a woman, my body is under assault (I finally understand what pro-choicers mean when they use that language). As an environmentalist, my ideas, beliefs, and cold hard facts, people, whether you like it or not, are under assault. As a liberal, I'm probably better off dead

I mean, my god, they harbor such hate for anyone who dares raise reasonable questions that conflict with their view of reality. Case in point: Maggie Gyllenhaal, previously ignored by all but the arts and indy film crowd. Her crime? She dared suggest that one of the many ways we could view 9/11 would be as an "occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world. Because it is always useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict...Not to have the courage to ask these questions of ourselves is to betray the victims of 9/11."

For god's sake, she's just trying -- in a very sensitive manner, might I add -- to open up a discussion that should have been started long ago! News flash, all ye fundamentalists: whether you like it or not, much of the world believes that our personal and collective behavior contributed to the attack. Are all of the other countries just making things up? Do you really need to ask that question? Many erudite people across the political spectrum can acknowledge that our nation's historical behavior causes us to be hated in the world -- this does not mean that the attacks were justified, but it does mean that we helped fuel the emotions which lead to them. Logically, if we want to avoid more attacks, it might help to address all of the factors which contributed to the first one: yes, go after the perpetrators, but also meaningfully try to understand how we unwittingly contribute to poverty and global injustice, which causes many of the world's poor to sympathize more with terrorists than with us.

But you can't even ask that kind of question without being called a terrorist sympathizer, a godless liberal, or a left-wing wacko. There are no avenues for discussion in this country anymore. You can't be different, you can't have an alternative view, and you certainly can't question the status quo -- that makes you a suspect in the eyes of those who believe God takes their side.

While we're busy persecuting gays, movie stars and liberals, has anyone bothered picking up the Bible lately? What happened to the Jesus who instructed us to replace eye for an eye with turning the other cheek? Didn't he mention something about how he who lives by violence also dies by it? Do these things only apply to people who aren't good, God-fearing Christians?

The saddest part about this is that nothing I say will ever reach the people who believe that there is an absolute, almighty truth which they are bound to disseminate. They're so hell-bent on bringing about Armageddon that they probably will unless the rest of us wake up and take our country back. Maybe I'll be able to do more good outside the nation than within it. All I know is that I don't feel like being civil anymore. I'm sick of pulling punches. I'm sick of their hypocrisies: the government can't regulate anything except the most private parts of my life? I don't think so. I'm tired of trying to fight fair or to reason with people who have rejected all forms of logic. I'm fighting back now -- and don't worry. I am coming home from the good ol' UK.

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