Sunday, July 30, 2006

Monday morning musing

Back in middle school, I got picked on a lot. Whether it was having peas flicked at my face in the school cafeteria, being shoved into the mud, getting tripped during races at track practice, getting jostled while taking a leak, being toppled over the bleachers until I hyperventilated, being the recipient of a rubber ball to the eye that nearly shattered my new contact lens or having my beloved Brewers cap ripped off of my head in an impromptu game of "keep-away," I had my fair share of friction. I never handled this particularly well, which was probably why it continued to happen for so long.

One day, all of this came to a head. I had been enduring considerable ribbing that day, even higher than average ("average" being defined as "a lot anyway"). As I stood in the brutally long lunch line, sweating and starving, someone shoved me from behind. To this day, I still don't know who did it. What I do remember is my response: I instinctively punched the stomach of the guy right behind me. Cries of "Ooh!" filled the humid afternoon air, and for a brief glimmer of time I felt like punishment had been meted by the five justices of my Supreme Left Hand. It was a high that didn't last long.

My supposed assailant reacted to my swing in a way far different than I would have expected. After I socked him, he looked surprised, almost hurt. Nothing like the usual jerks who would make cursory attempts to slide away or (even worse) keep on shoving. The muffled giggles coming from behind him sealed it for me: I had just punched the wrong guy! His only crime was being slightly later to the lunch line than me.

"Well, he's guilty by association," I rationalized, not wanting to think I hit someone who hadn't deserved it. The guy was no stranger to me. In fact, he ran with the group of well-to-do kids who gave me the most trouble at that school. And while he never took direct part in any of their tormenting activities, nor did he make any visible effort to stop it. Maybe he'd caused some grief to me in the past--and would again in the future--but at that moment, he was innocent. And here I was, suffering an irrational fit of rage caused by my sustained failure to control the conflict that swirled around me.

Such is the current attitude in the War on Terror, on the parts of both America and Israel. Who attacked us? Short of that, who is the looming threat? We have an idea, but we can't quite decide which shifty enemy on which to focus. After awhile, they all start to look the same to us, and we resort to blindly punching whichever country they choose to hide behind. And what does that accomplish? Not much, besides wounded innocents and masterminds laughing behind our backs.

I wish current foreign policy would stop reminding me of how I acted in sixth grade. We should expect so much more of world leaders.

12 comments:

Hillary For President said...

I so no what you're mean. Fact is, with Hillary Clinton fouir president a more dingify country like France is what we wood be. With BUSH for president, it's like a how you say? cowboy in the ovel office.

what i say is like this: the south lose the civil wars. okay? so its like south state to blame for that and slavery and all else. Northern Librails like hillary clinton is what we need.

no more souths in government. only northern librails, eccsept you ian. you are not form lousianaia now from Utah. but anyway.

Violet said...

This is a great comparison. It's amazing that actions that parents wouldn't support in their own children are undertaken by and supported in our government.

Nick said...

But what is Israel to do? Stop fighting? Hezzbolla still has rockets pointed at Israel's cities, trying to intentionally kill civilians and hiding themselves amonst civilians so that innocent people are killed if Israel attacks. Are they just supposed to allow terrorists to fire upon their cities and not retaliate?

Ian McGibboney said...

Violet, I could write all day about the playground mentality of the world.

Nick, the way I see it, innocents are dying no matter what. Israel is attacking Lebanon, not Hezbollah--at least that's what it seems like to me and the people I know with family there. I'm just as frustrated as anyone else that the terrorist networks are not states unto themselves; but that doesn't mean that we should attack sovereign nations who may or may not support them. Ideally, I'd like to see Israel and Lebanon team up and expel Hezbollah. I'm not holding my breath for that, of course.

Nick said...

You're right, innocents are dying, and that's the tragic part about terrorists. If Israel would lay down its weapons for peace, Hezbollah would still attack. If they retaliate, then innocent people are killed b/c the terrorists hide and live amongst innocent civilians. Either way Israel is screwed.

The Lebanon government cannot expel Hezbollah. That's one of the reason's why my best friend's dad, along with uncle, move out of Lebanon and eventually came here. The country was being over-run by terrorists in the late 70's and early 80's. He still have family there, such as his grandmother, but they want to see Hezbollah taken out. It that means Israel has to do it through war, that's not the preferred choice, but so be it.

By the way, are you going to apply for the guest columnist thing at TDA? The way I figure, I'm already posting "op-eds" on my blog, so if chosen, I can just send those same pieces to the paper.

Ian McGibboney said...

They're not looking for a replacement liberal. Anyway, they've got my resume "on file," if you dig.

Nick said...

No, it's a guest columnist group that I applied for.

http://www.acadiananow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060727/OPINION01/607270305/1014/NEWS17

It's not the crappy blog thing they've been doing. They already found the replacement for the RW blog.

Cajun Tiger said...

You analogy is not precise. In order to match what is happening in Israel it would have gone like this for you in sixth grade:

After being pushed by someone unprovoked, you would turn to retaliate against the aggressor only to have the aggressor pull the innocent boy you punched in front of him so you hit an innocent person instead of the one who committed the act. Then the one who pushed you, would turn you in to the principle for punching someone with no cause.

That is exactly what Hezbellah is doing and they are using the UN as the useful idiot to place blame on Israel.

Ian McGibboney said...

And the principal would let me off the hook, because she'd look like a bigot out to get me if she didn't. You see, I had a history of being pushed around and thus I can get away with a lot, even though I now act as the aggressor much of the time, and I'm not protecting myself so much as expressing misdirected blind rage. Because I can. Because you're a bigoted Nazi if you call me on it.

And it's not that the other side is completely innocent (in fact, the shovers have quite the record themselves). But it's okay for me to do the same thing. Because I can.

Cajun Tiger said...

no...it is as you said at first...b/c you didn't respond they preceived it as weakness and kept on attacking. Bullies only stop when confronted and called to the mat.

There is NO moral or any other kind of equivalence between Israel and the murderous thugs who attack them and use innocent civilians as shields for publicity.

Jester said...

Wow. Now you're the equivalent to the US military because you punched some kid in the stomach? That's outrageous even for you. Your deluded ego has hit an all-time high, Ian.

Ian McGibboney said...

Jester, My actions reflect those of the American and Israeli administrations, not of their militaries (which are but agents of those actions).

Incidentally, the three or four comments you've left today belie your insistence that I'm high on myself. Apparently I'm not the only one.