Thursday, November 11, 2004

Hey y'all. I'd offer my opinion on the election results, but Serena (from N is for Neville...) did it way better than I could have, and what's more, I agree with her wholeheartedly. So I asked her if I could quote her on my blog, she gave her blessing, and here it is. (Forgive the digression. Next post will be business as usual. Promise.)

From Serena's blog:

My Worldview

The popular vote went to Bush. I greatly dislike him, so clearly this disturbs me. So much so that I cried last night. Sat on my couch and cried. Stupid Ohio. I'm trying to reconcile the fact that I have a basic faith in humanity with the fact that humanity just really pissed me off.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of Americans and I do not share the same worldview.

In undergrad I learned about worldviews. These are basic core beliefs that color your outlook on the world. The way you interpret the chaos of the world around you is dependant upon your worldview. Every individual has one, and most times they are determined by the culture you are raised in. For example: a typical, Western world view is that it is every individual’s imperative to fight on the side of good against evil. Now, an Eastern worldview would instead believe that it is every individual’s imperative to maintain harmony and balance, with the concepts of good and evil not given any weight whatsoever.

In my opinion, George Bush's worldview is that the world is divided into two absolute categories: good and evil. For him, there is little to nothing in between. This basic belief motivates his behavior. Invading a country is clearly justified if its leader is evil. Taking away certain civil liberties with the Patriot Act is justified if you believe it will help to catch people who are evil. Banning gay marriage is justified if any marriage between anyone besides a man and a woman is evil. Because evil is bad. Absolutely. And therefore, anything you do to eradicate evil is good: the ends justify the means. A thousand dead American soldiers are unfortunate, but they are justified because their deaths contributed to the removal of an evil man from government.

This is the way I make sense of how Bush operates, and why he does the things he does. The world is good and bad. He is good. Saddam/terrorists are bad.
In my opinion, the world does not operate this way. In my opinion, absolute good and evil do not exist. The world is gray. It is scary and uncertain and full of many complicated layers which swirl around in a stew of ambiguity and make you want to pull the covers over your head. The amount of discomfort ambiguity creates is the reason why George Bush’s worldview resonates with so many people: it is easy. It makes you feel that you are safe. It makes you feel that you have identified the problem (the people who don’t like us are evil) and that solutions are on the way (get rid of them). It tells you who is good and who is bad and that you, clearly, are on the good side. Way to go.

But for me, there is no good side. There is no bad side. It is all subjective. And when it is all subjective the world becomes hard to define. It becomes difficult and messy. But it also becomes a place where all people have opinions and motivations and reasons for doing what they do. It is not because they are “evil”. “Evil” is not a motivating factor for anyone’s behavior. It is far more complicated than that, and thus harder to diagnose. When it’s harder to diagnose, it’s harder to fix. Or, possibly impossible to fix. Instead of something to battle against, it becomes a part of the human condition. But this does not console people who are afraid. This does not convince people that they are safe. This is not an effective campaign platform. But, for me, it’s the truth.

No one can protect a country from terrorism. You can make terrorism less easy, but you can never make it impossible. You can never kill every single terrorist. What you can do is attempt to create a global environment that does not breed the kind of intense fundamentalism that fuels terrorism. However, announcing yourself as “good” and another whole group of people as “evil” fosters conflict. Reassures the voters, but fosters conflict. Perpetuates it. Stokes the fire. When you believe that you are good, and the people you are fighting against believe that they are good, war is the only option available.

This is why I dislike Bush. This is also why I think he won.

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