How to Argue with the Ignorant
Jake Glass (to SDS): you guys are fucking pathetic, get a life, those soldiers chose to join the army to protect YOU, and you go and protest against them? grow the fuck up and read into what you fuckers are really doing, destroying this fucking country you ignorant fucks
Thomas Hutton: I'm not against the soldiers. Quite the opposite. I'm against the manipulation and senseless death bestowed upon them. You speak of ignorance but exhibit it throughout your tirade of Fox News rhetoric and poor comma placement. Protesting is not going to destroy America. If anything, it's going to be people like you and anyone who shares the same truly ignorant world view.
Me: I honestly don't feel like getting into a fight with you right now because it’s too early and just woke up. However, I do want to make some things clear.
If you knew anything, you would know that (most) people in SDS are not against soldiers as individuals. It is the military institution/military industrial complex in which we oppose. We oppose it not only because of the mass oppression in which they deal out to the citizens in the middle east, south America, and other areas of the world, which America has military presence in, but also because of the oppression in which they deal out here in our own back yard.
One thing that the military learned after Vietnam was to create less resistance, they would have to do away with the draft. But in the mean time, to get soldiers they would prey (primarily) on people of color and the poor & working classes. The thing about the military is, that when you're living in a community where there is no honorable way to make it "out" (because the alternatives are selling drugs, working a dead-end job like McDonald's, joining a gang, ect...) joining the military seems like the best thing to do. Over half of the military are people of color.
Now we also have large numbers of people signing up for the military because it seems like the best way to get an education with all the money that recruiters promise you when they're trying to recruit you. However, many people that go to sign up don't realize that you have to give the military $1,500 in order to try to get some of that money for college and then there are a series of standards that you must make in order to get it. The sad part is that most people don't meet those requirements and will end up owing the military $1,500 anyway. If they are able to some how meet the requirements, the military will only pay for them to go to certain colleges to gain certain degrees; all of which are only helpful for military jobs and rarely translate into being able to get jobs in the "real world". Thus, if they want to get a job later on after their contract is "up," veterans/soldiers often have to go back to the military for jobs.
Not to mention the circular situation that we're in now. Because we're at war, a large portion of the states’ budget goes to funding the war. 48 out of 50 states are in deep debt. CA is the leading state in debt at this moment and Illinois (where I'm at) is 2nd. Even though we're 2nd, we're still paying 57.2 billion to the war. We can barely afford to run the public transportation system in Chicago (which if that shut down, the city would shut down), I'm not sure how the hell we're able to even think about paying for the war. One thing is for sure though, the state can no longer afford to pay for education. They've cut the largest grant program (the MAP grant) here as well as state funded scholarships and loans. The state also is now stiffing the public colleges out of the money that they owe them annually. Because of this, many students can no longer afford the cost of rising tuition. Since the recruiters promise loads of supposed money for college to the recruities, should they sign up for the military, more and more people are joining. When you think of it, it's the lamest situation ever that to TRY to have a future, people have to become apart of the very thing that fucked them over in the 1st place.
I'm sure you've heard of this whole issue of Stop Loss as well. As far as I'm concerned, it's a form of slavery. These men and women sign up either as a way "out", to get money for college, or to do "their patriotic duty". They sign a contract saying that they'll be in the army for x number of years or go on x many tours. When their contact is up the military will turn right back around and say, "that's all well and good, but we're sending you back on more tours." Never-mind that the soldiers might not want to go back or that they might have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and aren't really fit to go back. In this endless war, who's to say when they'll be able to just get on with their lives at home because there's always a chance they'll get called back out of the blue.
Also, times haven't changed since Vietnam. The Military still doesn't give a shit about soldiers. If they have PTSD, depression, ect... they'll just hand the soldiers a bag of pills, pat them on their backs and send 'em on their way. When I think about 'Nam, it makes me afraid for the soldiers now. Many will have to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome all of their lives, and will have flash backs of the war even 40 years later and'll have to take an unbelievable amount of pills on the daily for who knows how long. It's not surprising that like 'Nam, there are now more soldiers and veterans of the "war on terror" committing suicide than all the soldiers that've been killed during the duration of the war.
Regarding the fact that the military does little to help soldiers who suffer from PTSD and don't really provide a lot of soldiers with an education, it's not surprising that 30% of the homeless in the United States are veterans.
I'm just hitting on SOME of the issues facing soldiers. This isn't even taking to account the other factors of the war. Now, I'm no Truther and more or less don't give a shit whether 9/11 was in inside job or not. The fact is when soldiers are asked why they're in the middle east, most of them cannot give you a straight answer because they really don't know. They're just doing their "job" and hoping that they're protecting our country.
The thing about defense is that generally you have to have been put on the defensive first. The United States has generally been in the offensive position. The American media is a joke around the world because of the obvious lack of real journalism in it, and the continuing trend of rarely giving news context. I.e. when the "underwear" bomber was reported, there was not a mention of the fact that a week prior, the United States bombed Yemen. Or, that the Middle East does not hate America because of our "freedom" & "democracy;" as good ol' George bush, the media, and many politicians would like us to believe. They hate us because of the long-standing oppression that we've caused there. One factor leading up to 9/11 is that during the Clinton Administration we bombed the fuck out of a pharmaceutical maker/distributor in (I believe) Sudan. This pharmaceutical maker/distributor was the main supplier of medicine to that region in Africa as well as to the middle east. Of coarse, like many of our actions, this wasn't talked about in the American media. And when it comes to Iraq, directly after 9/11 if you asked people on the street here in the US whether they believed that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 only 6% of the population said yes (if they even knew what and where Iraq was). However, thanks to the propaganda machine that is the media, 6 weeks later 60% of the population said yes, Iraq had something to do with 9/11.
Me: What wasn't talked about in the media was the fact that Saddam Hussein had been a long standing friend of the American gov't from the Reagan administration on up to the start of Bush's; even though he was a tyrannical asshole leader. People FROM Iraq came over months before pleading for the American gov't to do something about Saddam and their pleas fell on deaf ears. What set the Bush administration off was that Saddam actually finally started looking into the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and in siding with the Palestinians, he bombed Israel. The American gov't got pissed off that he bombed our ally (though they've committed SO many human rights violations against the Palestinian people over the last 50 years that it's incredible that we, the American public, still defend Israel) and so they went with a fabricated piece of information from an unreliable source as valid means to invade, create war, and occupy and spread the news around that we were going into Iraq because they had "weapons of mass destruction" (btw, did you know that America has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world? By Bush's logic alone,we should be invaded, should we not?)
Btw, in mid january of '02 or '03, a major Washington Post-ABC poll reviled that when people here in the US were asked that if Iraq agreed to withdraw from Kuwait in return for the Security Council consideration of the problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict, would you be in favor of that? By about two-to-one, the population was in favor of that (so about two thirds were). So was the rest of the world, including the Israeli democratic opposition. The thing was there was only about one mention of it in the media (which was a column in the LA Times by Alex Cockburn who was in favor of it), and all those people who were asked had no clue that that offer was actually on the table. The US officials actually released that info. On january 2nd ('02 or '03), those officials had released that an Iraqi offer to withdraw totally from Kuwait in return for the consideration of the Security Council of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the problem of weapons of mass destruction. The orders from Washington have been, we're supposed to be against "link-age," that is, diplomacy, and therefore everyone goose-stepped on command and everybody was against diplomacy. The US had been refusing to negotiate this issue since well before the invasion of Kuwait.
Suppose that people had known that the offer was actually on the table and that it was widely supported and that in fact it's exactly the kind of thing that any rational person would do if they were interested in peace, as we do in other cases, in the rare cases that we want to reverse aggression. Suppose that it had been known. You can make your own guesses, but I would assume that the two-thirds would probably have risen to 98% of the population. Here you have the great success of propaganda. Probably not one person who answered the poll knew any of the things I've just mentioned. The people thought they were alone in their thoughts. Therefore it was possible to proceed with the war policy without opposition.
Me: And the thing is, it's not like anyone couldn't have found this stuff out. The American News/Media is one of the only resources in which you are expected to know more about the world from watching/keeping up with it, but in the end you end up more confused and knowing less. If you want to know what's actually happening, I would advise you to begin to look at non-mass media from here in the states. Look at the news from other countries if you wanna learn more about the situation in the middle east OR here in the US. When only 5 to 6 companies control the media, and when then government and media have their dicks so far up each other's asses, it's no wonder that you're not going to hear anything new or completely truthful/within context. They're covering each other's back. Al Jazeera dared to tell the truth about the war and they were bombed by the US government for that. Like-wise you can clearly see in the video that was leaked with the US soldiers gunning down civilians (whom they claimed to be terrorists) from an Apache helicopter, that there was clearly a media presence there... I mean, one of the guys were CLEARLY holding a camera, not a AK47 as the military admittedly asserted. From the history that the gov't has of cover ups, I'm just saying it's possible that this was another attempt to stop the media over there from covering what's really going on.
Long story short, we're not against soldiers, we're against the military and what the government is doing. Also, if you want to not be ignorant, I would suggest looking to media sources (perhaps outside of the country) to get your info from the US mass media. At least then you can begin to attempt to get a "balanced" perspective/information. Don't be complacent and sit around. If you're going to criticize people who are actually trying to do something, to improve things, at least try to have most of your information and then judge. After all, at least we're doing SOMETHING.
"The man who stands for nothing will fall for anything."
"When the rich make war, it's the poor who die."
If you want to know who it really is who is destroying this country, it's the upper classes. It's those who are in charge of the corporations and in the gov't. When it comes down it it, if you're not in their class, they don't give a shit about you; and you shouldn't expect it otherwise. There's a long history of this in the US. You can see this in how they've spent our money and put us in debt (and we're expected to pay that back). You can see this in the way they keep us in these wars, and expand them, while they can no longer keep things at home from falling apart (cuts to education, loss of jobs, loss of homes, people starving, having to go on what's left of welfare, ect..). You can see this in the fact that for the first time in US history, when we finally get out of this recession, there will still most likely be few jobs for people here due to the fact that the corporations don't give a shit and are exporting our blue and white collar jobs over seas (which brings into question why the hell anyone would go to school since it's mainly based around the expectation of acquiring the skills and paper to get a job later... since the tuition is already stupid high, they ought to factor in the job of sending us to other countries so we can get those promised jobs afterwards). You can also see this in the fact the way they degrade our democracy further and further... the recent supreme court decision to allow corporations sponsor candidates and essentially "vote" with their money. If you would simply take the time to look around and actually analyze the actual state of things in comparison to all the shit they told you in grade school about america and how amazing, free, generous/nice, democratic, ect this country is, you might be able to see the truth. IF you're feeling too lazy to actually go read some real news, go ask a person of color what it's like to be them in this country. How the black, latino, and native american communities are, what they (we) still have to struggle for on the daily.
Look outside of your straight white male privilege. Everyone else could tell you that this is not the paradise they tell you it is.
Me: I'll leave you with these three thoughts:
“That’s really the part that I think is the hardest for people to understand. If you sit in your house, live your white life and go to your white job, and allow the country that you live in to murder people and to commit genocide, and you sit there and you don’t do anything about it, that’s violence.” -Naomi Jeff
“It was well understood, long before George Orwell, that memory must be repressed. Not only memory but consciousness of what’s happening right in front of you must be repressed, because if the public comes to understand what’s being done in its name, it probably won’t permit it. That’s the main reason for propaganda. Otherwise there’s no point to it. Why not just tell the truth?” -Noam Chompsky
“If you were born a white man in mid 20th century industrial america. you came into this world armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weapons, the weapons of privilege. racial privilege, sexual privilege, economic privilege. If you want to be a pacifist its not just giving up guns and knifes and clubs and fists and angry words, but giving up the weapons of privilege, and going into the world completely disarmed - try that” - Utah Phillips
Ashley: Now Brit, either you totally fucked his mind with a well said argument, or Douchebag up there gave up reading at a certain point.
That kid is a prime example of why I find it so hard sometimes to show the rest of the world some compassion.
vegetablesforbreakfast: You know you’re in a town of 1200 people when seeing two cop cars is a big deal. (Fun fact: Craftsbury Common has no police. If we want cops, which we don’t, we have to call in the state troopers from half an hour away. That’s the same distance to the nearest stoplight.) Why don’t I live there? Chicago is crazy!
I've got a mad case of the shy...
I have to call this pastry chef to set up a time to photograph, but suddenly I’m really shy about doing so. I think I’m stressed out…
I saw Gogol Bordello and Devotchka this weekend....
Everyone should experience that if possible. I played chef at my restaurant this weekend, it was kind of fun, but mostly too stressful. Also, the sky this morning around 7:30 was fucking splendid. I should have taken a picture. Hey, did you know I’m going to be phenomenally busy for a little bit!? GAH!
I mean, I’m just lost. I don’t even smell cookies. I’m just in...– Brad Temkin on my friend Dan’s photograph.
There’s a screening of the new Banksy film tonight that I got an invitation for, and when I emailed in my RSVP, they said they weren’t taking any more rsvps! I WANT TO SEE IT! ARGH! AND. GOGOL BORDELLO AND DEVOTCHKA IS ON FRIDAY. IM SO STOKED! DRUNK EASTERN EUROPEAN GYPSY PUNK! (To do list: Yoga Journals. Hist. Photo readings. Research for Final for History of Photo. SF...