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Thinking about war
A list in no particular order
Since Putin invaded Ukraine I’ve had a string of connected and unconnected thoughts. In no particular order, here are some of them:
Putin is a dick. He likes power, and adhere’s to an interpretation of history that favors his own reality. U.S. politics are full of people who also want power, and revise history to their own ends.
It’s really hard to understand the level of money and power - and cooperation from those with money and power - it takes to produce and maintain the level of propaganda required to keep millions of people in the dark.
Each of us sits in an information bubble of our own complacency. The algorithmic overlords feed on the human weaknesses that allow our echo chambers to take root. One can feel bewildered at what others appear to believe, which can easily turn into judgment and bitterness. Others look at you with the same confusion.
Tucker Carlson is a dick and it seems like he’s being paid to give Americans the narrative Putin has worked really hard to infiltrate our networks. He is a perfect example of the special kind of cynism bred only by capitalism. He feeds the revisionist history+power machine.
American’s who champion democratic ideals abroad, and other “sovereign” people’s struggles to achieve those same ideals for themselves should think about who else has lost their sovereignty through policy, power, and manifest destiny on our own soil. Indigenous Americans still suffer at the hands of everything we benefit from. Being all in for someone else’s freedom is easy when it’s mediated, distant, or at least not bleeding on your front porch.
There are songs from the canon of my youth that sizzle to the top of my thoughts when I see violence and cruelty in the media. The sarcasm in Fear’s “Let’s have a war”, Dead Kennedy’s “Riot” both mask sadness and exhaustion. They also articulate chaos and confusion in a way art only can. Suicidal Tendencies “Two-sided Politics” flips the coin on society’s view of undesirables who need to be controlled by the state. “I’m not anti-government, government’s anti-me” is a reminder that we don’t start out being a problem. It’s when we encounter some other force that insists their belief is the right one and should be upheld at any cost that we become a problem to those who hold power.
As a father and husband, I get most stressed out and choked up seeing the loss. In particular for parents losing children. Kids losing parents. Partners losing each other.
It’s interesting how our personalities can seem designed for certain situations. By all accounts, and in everything I’ve seen in the media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is owning his role and inspiring people around the world. But prior to Russia’s invasion, he was struggling. His polls were down, and he was adopting some heavy-handed approaches to leadership that gave his voters reason to be concerned. The older I’ve gotten I’ve tried to be more aware of where my personality is best suited, and be ok with just sucking at certain things.
Growing up I was taught in church to recognize evil, and even Satan, in things - objects, music, art, government policy deemed immoral, or seemingly counter to “what God wants.” At 47 years old, if I were to I.D. evil in a police lineup, it would be the one who enlists one human to destroy another. I think I understand one’s ability to take someone’s life by your own hand. I mean, I get limbic system survival. I know hurt, rage and fear. But to be the person that sends someone across a border to take from others, or even create policies that similarly takes rights, or exercises power over another in order to prop up an ideology (looking at you Florida, Texas, and Idaho), that’s what I would call evil.
The amount of authoritarianism in the US right now gives me a lot of anxiety. I know humans like certainty, they like heroes and short sentences that aren’t boring or confusing. They like to be fed the things that taste and feel good. I find it hard to trust people who give space to that kind of anti-intellectual worldview. But these GOP assholes are in it to win it, and they do not give fuck.
I just read this helpful article on forgiveness, how it functions and who it serves. Hard to do. But ultimately good for us. Hope you are all doing ok.