19 April 2010

Misleading the misled

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing*. While out and about this afternoon, I heard a news piece on CBC Radio One that caught my attention. I couldn't find the piece on the CBC website, but ABC News had the quote I was looking for from Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano:

We cannot put a glass dome over our country. We cannot guarantee there will not be another attack. No one can. But we are a strong and resilient country. And we can resolve that even a successful attack will not defeat our way of life.

Why do politicians in the US insist on making it sound like the only threat the US faces is from within? Is this how they get away with ignoring critical social justice issues domestically?

A glass dome over the US would not have prevented the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It was bombed by a US citizen, born and bred there (we share a birthday...), and his ideas did not originate with any particular religious ideology, Muslim or otherwise. He was, however, an angry man who never seemed remorseful for his actions. He was a controversial figure from the time of his arrest until his execution, three months to the day before the incidents of 11 September 2001.

In fact, before that fateful day when the USA turned its sights on the Middle East with swift and brutal intensity, most of the worst violence in the country was home-grown: the standoff of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas (which also shares today's anniversary); the shootings at Columbine High School (anniversary tomorrow); and on and on.

The US isn't alone in its violence and social problems. They aren't even alone in changing the context of past events. Personally, I'm more worried about how Canada fixes itself than how it might deal with other countries; and I say this as an active and dedicated member of Amnesty International.

Quite frankly, I believe that the US would have more success with reducing violence and creating domestic security if they focused more on how to take care of themselves while using diplomacy and foreign aid to stabilize the international community. Probably easier said than done, but it still seems like less work than the current strategy.

18 April 2010

What do you know?

Like a lot of other bloggers, I'm a fan of Jay Smooth, and will re-post almost anything he does:

Like a lot of bloggers, I also agree with what he says. He's not necessarily the smartest man on the planet, but he certainly knows what he's talking about. He has this ability to tell the truth while being respectful, and blunt, and he has a great, almost lyrical, approach to language.

What I like about this particular video is that he's right. People who know nothing about politics would better serve themselves if they didn't pretend that their disdain was in any way related to understanding how the system works.

I love politics. I follow it to the capacity that my brain can handle. I'm active in the process, and I spend a significant amount of time thinking about what I believe and why. When I talk about politics with other people (and I tend to choose carefully who I talk to), I clearly speak within my realm of experience, and sometimes I just don't know the answer. I certainly have lots of opinions, but they're based on engagement with the system.

When people open their mouths and express a sense of discontent or cynicism with politics, without having any idea what individuals do within a political system, then they're contributing to making the system worse, because not only are they not engaging in changing it, but they're spending time passing off ignorance as knowledge to people who haven't had the opportunity to learn for or decide for themselves. And the cycle starts again.

11 April 2010

Writer's Block

All that not writing I've done has rendered me a little useless as far as writing goes. I'm having a hard time finding inspiration. When I think I have an idea, it fizzles. It's really frustrating. Moreover, it's really putting a cramp in my "blogging more often" plan.

05 April 2010

Twitter killed my blog

I still love blogging. I think about it frequently. It kept me awake for an extra 40 minutes in bed last night, thinking about how I could incorporate more blogging into my schedule. Honestly, if they would let me access this platform from my school, I'd be all over it with much more frequency. Unfortunately, I am relegated to my downtime (not-at-work time) which, in actuality, is my semi-conscious time. There's a reason why my blogging increases exponentially in the summer. At the end of a school day, I'm usually done thinking. It's how I keep my sanity (and why so many of my jokes end up being of the "that's what she said" variety).

Twitter, on the other hand, has become simple. It's so easy to post a 140-character thought... without thinking. But I'm kind of sad at how it really deteriorates the quality of what I want to say. I also, I find myself bouncing back and forth between completely irrelevant updates (à la Facebook), and repeating other people's information. But I can't seem to break myself of the overly-simple habit of pulling out my BlackBerry between classes and throwing up something quick and "witty".

So, I'm going to spend some time rethinking how I construct my thoughts and how I can resurrect this with some regularity. And how I can integrate the two media better.

Suggestions welcome.