Monday, June 07, 2010

Unpopular Opinion

There is a lot going on all at once that seems to be related but may not be.

Since the "Peace Flotilla" was taken over by the Israeli military, the crazy seems to be screaming at a higher pitch than usual.

Yeah. So there was no way for this to have played out well. The "Peace Activists" couldn't have thought that Israel would let them through. Else the blockade would cease to be a blockade. Duh. It is senseless, though, for anyone to act as though they were doing anything different from eco-activists who chain themselves to trees. They were in a ploy for attention. Period. And when it turned chaotic and deadly, well, I guess that's what happens when you try to run a military blockade.

But on the other hand, a different story has been splashed across the news today. Helen Thomas. I have known her face since I was a kid - way longer than I have known who she is - she was always right there on the front row of the White House press room, even back when there were few enough channels that you could find them all with a dial. Anyway, in the last week or so, she stuck her foot in her mouth and is having to retire. Of course, lots of people recover from stating unpopular opinions, but her unpopular opinion was that the Jews should leave Palestine. And since she said it, her career is over and she is being marked a bigot.

Of course this coincided with the "Peace Flotilla." And I wonder if she wouldn't have been able to recover from it if the Flotilla had not floated.

I am troubled at the clamor for blood that follows anyone's statement of an unpopular sentiment. I see a big difference between disagreeing with the Jewish settlement of Israel and hating Jewish people. Disagreeing with a state does not equal hating an ethnic group. Take Italy. I am forever baffled at Berlusconi's hold on the country's leadership. His self-interested manipulations of the law allow him to get away with outrageously criminal behavior. And yet he keeps winning elections. Does this mean that I hate Italians? Of course not. Yet my opinion is that the way the country runs has fundamental moral flaws.

Let's come a bit closer to home. Cuba. As a nation, we don't even have diplomatic dialogue with Cuba. Yet no one is going to say of those who defend the status quo that they hate Cubans. Or Venezuela? They did elect Chavez in (at least the first time). Do we really hate ourselves when we disagree with our own country?

We are never going to make it as a multicultural globe if we continue to take statements of opinion and make of them more than there is: if we look to be hurt and hated. I think Helen Thomas knows that the state of Israel isn't going anywhere. Nor is the United States of America going anywhere, in spite of being at its core a settlement on land previously belonging to someone else. Her comment wasn't smart. It didn't do anything to advance cooperation or peace or tolerance. But when people feel that a whole nation can't stand the criticism of an opposing journalist in another country, they devalue that nation's overall power and come off basely too.

**note: it took me a month to put my ideas into semi-adequate words. I am actually publishing this on July 11, 2010.**

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