Jul 15, 2006

"THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE"

Today I am worried sick about bandwagons. There are a lot of people who are being caught up in movements because they are accessible or they, on the surface, represent something honorable or appealing. Many intelligent people I know personally are becoming involved in organizations that claim to demand peace, yet have questionable ties. The same thing happened a few years ago when war on Iraq began. And, my great fear is coming to pass-- many women are aligning themselves with these organizations and catching buzzwords and soundbites and blindly walking with groups who do not have peaceful interests in mind. I feel sometimes like I am the only one who looks at organizations with a skeptical eye and bothers to ask any questions. I know that isn't true, but it's hard to feel okay when people are hopping on bandwagons in droves while I am standing here saying, "Wait. Please wait. Please let's not trust an organization blindly because it feels good to protest or because it feels good to be part of something. Please, let's just check them out and see if they're all okay." But, I'm getting a lot of grief from otherwise reasonable people these days for doing this.

For example, a women's anti-war organization who I think has done fine work and done some good in terms of uniting women across cultural barriers... well, one of their founders publicly united herself with Workers World Party (which has appealing and reasonable things on their website like "click here for anti-war and anti-racist news" which, most people want, right? Dig a little further and see seriously biased news reporting, which just isn't fair or honorable) and United for Peace and Justice (Ditto with the journalistic bias on their website). What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, both organizations supported Milosevic, Castro, Kim Jong-il to name a few. And, Cindy Sheehan, while I support her protesting to the inth degree and think she has an admirable set of ovaries on her, her now-infamous statement: "Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel." Well, it presents a problem in a too-lazy-to-do-research culture we have going on here in this country. People will read it, take it a face value and manifest hatred of Israel. I don't have anything against her. I think Republicans are giving her a shitty time, but I also think those of us who claim to be left have coddled her and let her grief double as her credibility. I'm not saying she isn't credible. But, I'm also not saying she is. She, like everyone else, should be listened to and considered.

Considered is different than accepted, and that's the big fucking problem. I can listen to anyone's viewpoint. I can, perhaps, understand their point completely. I can even say it is a valid point of view. I can do all of this without (a) shouting (b) freaking out and becoming defensive and (c) accepting their opinion as my own. You can be right and I can be right, too. Eh, maybe that's the Jewish talking, but is anything so black and white that it can only have one true answer? Not really.

I'm not telling anyone how to believe. I'm not telling anyone what they need to think about the war in Iraq or the events of the past few days in the Middle East. I just think, to be fair, to be the sane, intelligent people we claim to be, we owe it to ourselves to do our homework and face our days with information, not bandwagonism. If you find everything, and I mean everything, sits well with you about an organization, then by all means. Take to the streets and make noise in their name and take a stand for what you believe in. I know it feels good to be part of something and I know it feels empowering to feel like your voice is being heard and that you're making a difference. I'm just asking you to consider researching organizations. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Who funds them? Who runs them? What did those people do before? Who do those people support? Who does this organization align itself with? You might be shocked by what you find.

My great fear today is that by feeling emboldened and brave when supporting well-organized groups (even ones that appear grassroots), people will forget that some of these groups have been run, supported and fueled by larger organizations who may not be so favorable. And, even worse, groups who blind individuals to the human rights transgressions of the larger groups supporting them. There is always a subtext.

(Tangent over. For now.)

Click here for your That-Seems-Too-Obvious-To-Be-Real Moment of The Day.

On a happier note, today is Dork Day. Happy Dork Day from one dork to another.

6 comments:

AmHistorian said...

Yes, preach on! I totally agree on the Cindy Sheehan point. Yes her grief is credible, and perhaps even her anger...but that does not make her any more of an expert on foreign affairs than you or me. In fact, if anything her grief and anger cloud her objectivity, making her less of a reliable source than you or I.

Kerri said...

I think we can all guess YOUR politics. That's exactly why I'm not religious... it makes people blind, sorry to say.

Christi Carter said...

Miss you are confusing. U worry about women yet u are a so called feminist and went to a parade for gays. Is this so called bandwagon a code for Christ? because we arent a bandwagon we are warriors of truth. I suspect u are under the influence of evil because u talked about witches in ur blog and they are brides of Satan.

I pray for you.

Tony McWilliams said...

Kerri and Christi-- why are you even on this blog? Are neither of you able to engage in at least a little bit more intelligent debate, perhaps?

I think she said a lot of brave things in a very diplomatic way. Leave her the hell alone. Jews are fair people and they spend a hell of a lot more time learning about this kind of stuff than you or I do. I trust her and just about every other Jew's politics.

Amalya said...

Tony-- While yoy rbing up some excellent points, aren't you generalizing a bit? I will say though, that if we're fair people, it's only because Judaism is about considering things constantly and completely. That's sort of our thing. We consider.

And, Kerri we place a whole lot of value on human life. And, with an entirely civilian defense, Israel doesn't get into any military action unless it absolutely must.

jessica said...

well said amy! i must say i rather agree with what you wrote...politics are a dangerous zone to travel in. most people are unable to separate erros and political...i myself fall victim to this. thank you for the very well informed, thought out, and brilliantly written piece of mind.