Things We Don’t Understand, Colltalers
The struggle to wrap our minds around multiple, escalating conflicts in the world today can trick us into embracing questionable assumptions, so to cut corners and arrive quickly at a deeply delusional position: that of being the ones dolling out judgement and decisions over the lives of millions.
As unsustainable as such a stand is, is the growing list of things we simply can’t understand. We’re not talking about big themes here, hunger, poverty, even war. Humbly, we’d like to focus today on only three of the many baffling things that we have no grasp of in contemporary America.
We don’t know how can a movement exist for a new armed intervention in Iraq, given not just what’s already happened but what’s actually happening in that scorched region. Second, we have no clue how come polls point to a GOP victory in the November elections, regaining the Senate and keeping the House, when the party’s been in the wrong side of history lately in pretty much every conceivable modern issue.
And, lastly, we confess our ignorance of what made the Obama Administration endorse the use of air guns for seismic exploration of oil and gas in the Atlantic, preparing the way for drilling off the Eastern seaboard, considering the proven damage these blasts cause to marine mammals and, for crying out loud and for the one hundredth million time, our urgent need to stop prospection and use of petroleum-based fuel for energy.
Admittedly, these three, almost randomly selected issues, pale in comparison with what’s going on Gaza, for instance. We’re watching hopelessly killing and destruction verging on genocide, arguably smaller in scale but not unlike what we unfortunately grew used to seeing happening in Africa.
We could be talking about Boko Haram’s relentless campaign of terror in Nigeria and even across the border, specially against women as they’ve just kidnapped the wife of Cameroon’s vice prime minister, which is still horrible but surprising, considering their usual slant towards teenage girls.
Or Ukraine, Russia, Syria, Afghanistan. Never mind war, what about the Ebola outbreak in Serra Leone and surroundings? Under such rationale, whatever our self-delusional fancy strikes, offering our take about every issue known to man, is fair game. But we can’t subscribe to any of that.
Further into this digression, that’s why our choice of themes is as unpredictable as events randomly develop, so not to preach and also to pick our fights as we go. That is, if you can even call it a fight the act of just writing about what goes on around, within the safe confines of one’s secluded cave.
Back to those three puzzles, how can we even discuss another intervention in Iraq, after spending a decade wrecking the country, spilling the blood of over 4,400 Americans, plus hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, besides maiming a combined several hundred thousands, and wasting close to a trillion dollars in costs, by conservative estimates? All to see the ancient conflict between Sunnis and Shiites to be reawaken over and over again.
The invasion of Iraq, based on lies concocted by the Bush administration, its media cronies, and an at least one unquestioning ally, the U.K., was a tragedy not just in terms of human and material costs, but also for squandering the brief world support the U.S. got after the 9/11 attacks, and taking away for good the now discredited perception of us always picking the moral side of human rights and the rule of the law on global issues.
It’s also infuriating when a ghoul such as the previous U.S. vice president, who promoted a criminal, self-serving agenda on behalf of a nation too stunned to act on its own volition, reappears now, unapologetic as ever, craving for the bully pulpit he once occupied with particular cruelty.
Speaking on not being on the human side, how can a number of polls indicate with such conviction that in the midterm elections, the Republican Party is set to regain Senate majority, while keeping its grip on the House, when in the past two decades it’s been almost proud of being blatantly mistaken about every relevant issue of our time, from women reproductive rights, to church and state separation, to corporate greed, to immigration and gay rights.
How can a party that has consistently alienated the interests of over half of the population, women, undermining every hard won right to choose, be a favorite to win any election, let alone that of local representatives? Is it even possible, if most women decide to vote in November?
How can the GOP, having sheltered religious extremism and anti-science movements, denying evolution and man-made climate change, be scientifically ahead on the polls, unless they’ve been conducted among the wealthiest, who are known for not being too keen about voting rights?
And how is it possible for the party of the gun-rights advocates, and anti-immigration, and against ‘big’ government and social inclusion, but that nevertheless, has a massive number of members supported by federal welfare programs, be also the one pro-corporations, unless they are, in fact, artificially fueling much of the discontent with a black president, and articulating behind the scenes, the latest craze, the calls for his impeachment?
Finally, how can a president who has been unfairly chastised for his push towards the development of alternative sources of energy, and who’s faced more than his share of criticism for his stand (even if not much else) against big oil, now, in the last years of his term, allow it to explore potential petroleum fields, miles under the Atlantic surface, with a technology that’s known for being harmful to whales and dolphins?
As with evolution and man-made global warming, the connection between the powerful submarine blasts and the worldwide beaching of whales and dolphins has been thoroughly established, since the Cold War days when the Navy conducted experiments with high frequency sonars.
Despite all that, the Navy plans to intensify its testings in the next five years, which involve the air gun cannons. And now, the door has been opened to even less concerned parties, as the Department of Interior gave clearance to the oil and gas industry to blast their riches away.
We know we’re playing a bit coy here, by using some beaten rhetorical figures to prove a point. But many of us do get flabbergasted on a regular basis by just the sheer enormity of what we don’t know, and following the headline news of the day simply won’t help us to catch up with any of it.
We may sound arbitrary in picking these and not other issues, or even for deciding to say something about them. Considering that we’re aware we’re not adding anything anew, it’s no wonder that each of our readers would have a different set of issues to focus on a daily basis, at any given time.
But what’s behind a renewed push towards invading Iraq yet again may be a desperate need to keep those defense dollars flowing, as simply bombing everyone we don’t like can no longer be a valid foreign policy. And behind polls that seem so apart from the reality on the ground, one has to wonder whether it’s not all part of an effort to move voters in just such a direction. As for how the GOP may stage a win, we still have no clue.
And if we have to overstate our case, nothing is more political than our energy policies. The fact that it’s now, once again, being swayed back to one of oil exploration, along with multiplying fracking projects countrywide, and talk of a nuke rebranding, what we may be witnessing is a troubling trend towards undermining wind and solar energy projects, while doubling down on old choices that assure the dominance of the status quo.
Now, that’s a fight we can take up on and win, with no blood to be spilled but many heads to roll, so to snatch a nation from its profiteering puppet masters, and rescue an ocean for its majestic creatures. Enjoy the last days of July. WC