Today would have been my friend Mr Tom’s 101st birthday. Continue reading “The 101st”
A lot happened this week but I’m having trouble focusing right now because this just happened: Continue reading “I’m So Nerve-Cited”
8 June 2001
A Conversation between Stanley & Gabriel
S: War? Who are we at war with?
G: Anyone who impinges on America’s freedom. Terrorist states, Stanley. Someone must bring their war to them. They bomb a church, we bomb ten. They hijack a plane, we take out an airport. They execute American tourists, we tactically nuke an entire city. Our job is to make terrorism so horrific that it becomes unthinkable to attack Americans.
S: How can you justify all this?
G: You’re not looking at the big picture, Stan. Here’s a scenario: You have the power to cure all the world’s diseases, but the price for this is that you must kill a single innocent child; could you kill that child, Stanley?
G: You disappoint me; it’s the greatest good.
S: Well how about ten innocents?
G: Now you’re getting it, how about a hundred – how about a thousand, not to save the world, but to preserve our way of life?
S: No man has the right to make that decision; you’re no different from any other terrorist.
G: No, you’re wrong, Stanley. Thousands die every day for no reason at all, where’s your bleeding heart for them? You give your twenty dollars to Greenpeace every year thinking you’re changing the world? What countries will harbor terrorists when they realize the consequences of what I’ll do?
11 September 2001
We know what happened.
We saw the reactions.
We live with the results.
Still, we ask:
How far are we willing to go?
6 January 2016
I don’t remember when I first saw Swordfish; I think it was my senior year of high school, which would put it sometime around 2004. I think the movie was taboo in the conservative circles I moved it, not just for the rating but also for its kinds-sorta anti-government message.
Recently, I found it again on Netflix; remembering it as mainly a tecno-drama in which John Travolta shoots massive weaponry and gets away with his scheme to divert $6 billion in government slush money to wage War on Terror [before such a thing existed], I sat down and watched it again.
The conversation stopped me cold. Swordfish came out mere weeks before 9/11. In the aftermath, did we go too far or not far enough? It depends. I wonder what the world would be like if Gore had won Indecision 2000 and not Bush; I honestly think Bush was the right President in 2001, but have second-guessed his re-election in 2004. That may have been a mistake. Dangerous things happen when historians start playing “What-If?”.
Perhaps it’s because Ender’s Game is still fresh in mind, but when I have a free moment, I find myself asking:
How far would I go?
How far should I go?
Thing is, I’m not convinced there’s a right answer.
What do you think?
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an evil country
According to Google, America both is and is not
the best country in the world
the greatest country in the world
the land of opportunity
the new Rome
According to Google, America is not
a Christian nation
a free country
According to Google, America is the most
According to Google, America is an idea
According to our Founding Fathers, America is something else entirely. In the sweltering heat of a Philadelphia summer, delegates representing thirteen British colonies unanimously declared:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security
America is far from perfect, but she is my country, my homeland. And, despite my sport team preferences, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Everything was fine until you showed up. Really, it was. I could cheer on my team in relative peace and quiet, free from threats and trolling. Absolutely nobody cared.
But now you are here, and all of that is gone. Now, you think you own me.
Let’s get one thing straight: I owe you neither an explanation nor an apology. In fact, I don’t owe you anything. But you seem to think I do.
Fact: I’ve been cheering for my team since 1994.
Fact: You’ve been cheering for your team since June 16.
Now, if this were any other sport, you’d have some very pointed remarks if I suddenly switched teams just because one of them was doing better than expected. You’d say that I was a bandwagoner or a fair-weather fan. Profanity might be involved at some point.
There’s only one American team I cheer for in any capacity: the UConn basketball team. I’ve cheered for them since I was old enough to know that college basketball was a thing. I can only imagine what you’d say to me if I started cheering for Duke or UNC or Kansas or Kentucky just because UConn was having a bad year.
In the same way, there’s only one team I cheer for in the World Cup: Deutschland. That’s Germany for those of you new to the game. Oh wait, that’d be all of you. And that was never a problem. At least, it wasn’t ‘til you came along.
You see, for years you didn’t care about soccer. I would argue that you still don’t care, but that’s not the point. You didn’t care because America sucked. And you didn’t care about America’s suckiness because soccer wasn’t an “American Sport.” You didn’t care about soccer because you couldn’t gloat. America wins the so-called “World Series” and “Super Bowl” simply because other countries don’t show up. Oh, all right, I know Canada may be involved in the World Series. I honestly don’t care for either baseball or football. At least now you might know the difference between football and futbol.
But now you care. So when you post a status update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, you get dozens – maybe even hundreds – of likes and retweets and support.
When I post the same in support of my team, I get things like
Turn in your America card.
You’re being unpatriotic. You know that, right?
You’re a moron.
You’re out of control.
You should be deported.
You’re a Nazi.
If you support another country the government should give you a one way ticket to live in that country since you love it so much.
USA! USA! USA!
And these are just the ones I can repeat.
I could counter your arguments with logical, thought out responses. However, that would imply they are worthy of debate. Suffice it to say your comments prove you know nothing of the sport or of history.
I don’t go trolling you every time you post something about your team; why must you do it to me? Let the score speak for itself. After all, that kind of is the point.
You know, I don’t really care that you support the USA. That’s fine. My friends support England and France and Brazil and Chile. One or two of them might even support the USA.
What I do care about is the fact that you’re bringing the traditional American arrogance and superiority complex to a sport that you haven’t cared about in decades, if at all. I can only imagine the terror you will unleash upon the world should you actually win.
Now knock it off before you ruin it for everyone.
I realize that not all American supporters act like this. Some have supported the team since day one. That’s great; it’s what the sport needs.
This letter is written from my personal experience and is directed at those on my Facebook feed (and those that act like them) and not necessarily to all American supporters in general.
This post is being published as part of Writing 101. Challenge 19: Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.