Thursday, November 11, 2004

fighting fire with fire....

Thanks for sending me this joke, Noela.

A plane leaves Los Angeles Airport under the control of a Jewish captain. His copilot is Chinese. It 's first time they've flown together and an awkward silence between the two indicates a mutual dislike. Once they reach cruising altitude, the Jewish captain activates the autopilot, leans back in his seat, and mutters, "I don't like Chinese."
"Not like Chinese?" asks the copilot, "why not?"
"You people bombed Pearl Harbor, that's why!"
"No, no," the copilot protests, "Chinese not bomb Pearl Harbour. That was Japanese, not Chinese."
"Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese ... doesn't matter, you're all alike!"
There's a few moments of silence.
"I don't like Jews!" the copilot suddenly announces.
"Why not?" says the captain indignantly.
"Jews sink Titanic."
"Jews didn't sink the Titanic!" exclaims the captain, "It was an iceberg!"
"Iceberg, Goldberg, Greenberg, Rosenberg, no matter ... you're all alike.

Thought it might be fun to substitute Liberal and Labor, Dems and Reps or Palestine and Israel for Chinese and Jews here. And any one of a thousand perceived transgressions on either side for Pearl Harbour and Titanic.

I am getting so sucked into the vortex of either/or thinking in this climate, it's alarming.

It's alarming because it's really not me. Until a year or two ago, I was always the moderator in any group. My parents have a tendency to list to the right and in my discussions with them, I would lean left in order to try to bring feelings back towards the Middle Path. Many of my friends list left and a couple of them I have affectionately named Automatic Radicals, accusing them of automatically taking the radical stance on any topic. I would always find myself listing right with this people in search of balance and asking them to examine their thinking before they took up a position.

Now I fear I am becoming one. We are being called apon to step either side of the centre line. We are being called apon to take a radical stance. The climate demands it. The words of world leaders demand it. When George Bush told the world that we were either with him or ag'in him, where did that leave us? When John Howard follows him to war as a means of political expediency when most of Australia don't want it, where does that leave us? It leaves us all, either side of that line, becoming more and more radicalised.

Some people would reply that the Muslim extremists say, 'You are either with us or against us." So what? If it is in any way productive to have two groups of murderously enraged religious zealots running around the world proclaiming that each is against the other, I'd like to know how.

"You don't fight fire with fire - any fool knows you fight fire with water."

That's a quote but I don't remember its source.


At 25 November 2004 at 10:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny, but I've also been thinking about this recently. I've been wondering if u had come over to the dark side to join us automatic radicals :)

I agree with what u say kinda. But i just don't know if rational thought works with the Neo-Cons. Their thought processes don't seem to be anywhere near logical. Especially the religious right. All that seems to matter to them is that they are on god's side and they are right and everyone else is wrong.

As for fighting fire with fire -- the bush fire brigades use that tactic all the time with creating fire breaks and controlled burn-offs. The Neo-Cons are so irrational that i think the only way to deal with them is to use their own tactics (ie: shock jock terminology, ridiculing of people who don't believe the same, the politics of division etc)against them for a change, just like Mike Moore does. Okay, it may not seem to have an immediate effect, but that's the problem with us rational people - we give up too easily and go back to trying to win them over with kindness and understanding and gentle persuasion. AND THEY KNOW IT! They know that their policies of slowly dividing and conquering and claiming moral superiority eventually wears people down until we just don't care any more. Its time for us to stop being wimps and to fight fire with the same tactics they use.

Whew... got a bit worked up there. I might actually get off my arse and do something about it.



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