Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Miss Marlénè Regrets...

I wasn't going to write any more about this issue, but I keep getting these responses to what I've written: some, like the gentleman who left a comment three posts down, were quite interesting and challenging; others, which came directly to my email, were grossly insulting. Both forced me to think about what I believe and why I believe it. Both forced me to search my own opinions for the grains of truth that I seek in this life. Both made me even more determined to not be silenced.

My carefully thought-out belief is thus: if a thing is wrong, it is always wrong. Killing is always wrong, theft is always wrong, fraud is always wrong. No matter what. However, oftentimes these wrong things are necessary. If one has a choice between either killing someone or letting a destructive force continue unabated, then doing wrong in order to prevent further wrong becomes necessary.

But necessity does not turn the wrong thing into a right action. Allowing a wrong thing to become right-in-certain-circumstances opens the door to flimsy justifications. Is it wrong for a man to steal a loaf of bread to feed his family? Yes, it is, no matter how necessary that theft may seem...for it is only a short step from the loaf of bread that will feed your family this morning to the diamond necklace or Jaguar convertible or computerized bank transaction that will feed your family for months.

When a murderer is caught and brought to justice, justice demands that the one who took the lives of others should be deprived of life; but then who shall deprive that person of life, without becoming a murderer? The government exists to protect society from its own members, and government must take on the guilt of doing wrong actions for good reasons. But it is a short step from taking a life in order to spare other lives to giving the government the right to take lives, a fatal step from democracy to dictatorship.

That short step is the breeding-ground of hypocrisy. If you represent a wrong action as a right action, you have engaged in hypocrisy. And if you can extrapolate that hypocrisy into a fairly believable dogma, you can gain the power to do evil.

The phenomenon that I speak out against when I say that this War on Terrorism is wrong is the phenomenon of hypocrisy. I never said that the United States Military should not be in the Middle East hunting down the people responsible for the terrorist attacks against this nation and attempting to ensure our future safety. That is their function. What I said was that the propaganda that is being generated by the military and the government is a hypocrisy.

Certain less-than-scrupulous politicians have used the terror and upset that followed the September 11th attacks to push legislation through Congress that may not have passed if people were paying attention to them. Policies are being made in a time of unrest that will have damaging repurcussions when peace is resumed. While we are busy flying our flags and buying our Franklin Mint commemorative plaques, civil liberties that took decades and centuries to achieve for our citizens are being undermined. These things frighten me. And when I am afraid, I must speak out.

As an American, it is my right to speak my mind in public. Without that right, hypocrisy and fascism have their greatest opportunities to prevail. But when speaking my mind is represented, by people who disagree with me, as a hatred for my country, I become enraged. When people tell me that I have no right to my opinions and feelings, I become enraged. If I give up my right to free speech, I negate the sacrifices made by my ancestors and the founders of this nation who had to take on the guilt of killing in order to ensure the success of democracy.

I hope that anyone reading my words will be inspired to sit down and think about what they believe and why they believe it.

But to return to my regret: I regret that I shot off my mouth without making absolutely sure of my information and studying the issue closely. The fact is that I don't have a very clear understanding of what is going on in Afghanistan. I doubt anybody in the general public does. But I have made a choice in my life to not pollute my brain-space with poorly-written journalistic accounts of an event that can only sadden and anger me. Similarly, I do not follow the doings of our government very closely. I learn a little something, and if I investigate it, almost invariably I find myself getting enraged, and then not being able to do anything about it, which only serves to frustrate and enrage me further. I have therefore chosen a form of ignorance to ensure my own peace of mind. I can only put my faith in our Constitution and hope that everything will turn out OK without my interference. And since I have chosen this faith and ignorance, I do not have the right to represent myself as an authority on any of the above. I did not intend to represent myself as an authority, but then I never start off with disclaimers anyway. But here's my disclaimer: these are my opinions and my beliefs. They are not facts.

I also regret having written to Eric in response to his website advertisement...I don't regret that I sparked off this controversy from which I have grown and learned, but rather that I apparently upset people. All of the unpleasantness of the last few days has sprung from that one moment of indignation where I hoped to plant a seed of understanding in the mind of a stranger. He has a right to his opinions, and the lady whose opinion is that I should go fuck myself also has a right to that opinion, and we all of us have the right to our own opinions...thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

God Bless America.

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