A decade ago, my friends and I were enlisted to fight an African warlord 7,000 miles away. The moral battle still rages on.
Great read and I think this points to a drastic issue with our current connected society. I see it in my 29 year old roommate. People are so concerned with what is happening 5000+ miles away they ignore what is happening. 1 mile away. People would rather connect online (yes, pot, kettle, black) then actually talk with their neighbors. You get pithy statements like: "Justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Really?? A murder in the Triangulum Galaxy is a threat to justice in Phoenix?
As a group, we need to start focusing on making ourselves better, then our families and then our communities. We need to work from the inside to the outside.
Thank you for putting down on paper (kind of) what I've been trying to articulate for some time. We. as a country, have had so few real problems that we've had to invent new ones. Ask a Ukrainian about pronouns, climate change, white fragility or any other 'squad' issues and they'll look at you as though you're from another planet. They'll tell you that words don't matter, but actions do, and unfortunately we've become a nation of words.
Well done. Though the all-too-brief mention of the panicdemic with the "15 days to flatten the curve" line greatly diminishes its significance.
That at least half of the population believed a virus with a 99.98% survival rate was dangerous enough to shut down the entire world for two years, lock ourselves in our homes (or worse, be involuntarily confined), deny our children an education, gleefully berate, condemn, and eventually disown strangers, neighbors, friends, and family for the crime of insufficiently embracing the ever changing rituals of compliance, and submission to absolute authority based upon baseless fear is unprecedented in our history.
Never forget. Never let it happen again.
What struck me about this story is that there was some school administrator or teacher who was stupid enough to herd up a bunch of kids and expose them to this BS in the first place. (And I say that as a retried educator.)
As an older person, I think we've raised a generation of imbeciles.
Outstanding piece and great perspective. If only we could see our own roles in these stories and just. stop. doing it.
The idea of conflating our association with (or stance on) certain causes with being indicative of our own goodness is destroying us individually and as a society.
So take this awareness one step further. How much of what you're seeing in the news about Ukraine and Russia is really more of the same? Is Ukraine really a democracy simply because it held elections? (I don't know. We don't call Russia or Venezuela "democracies," and they hold elections. So "election" does not equal "democracy.") How old is Ukraine as a country? (Answer, right around your age.) Who really runs the Ukraine? (Answer: Not the people, but a bunch of oligarchs, much like, say, Russia.) Why would Ukrainians fight to defend a corrupt government? (Answer: they're not. They're fighting to defend what they consider their country. Zelensky's just benefitting from the conflation of government and nation as ideas, just as they do, say, in the US.)
The problem is we're all being played again, just like "finding Kony," only the stakes are higher than just a little money. At any given time, wars are raging across this globe, many of them caused and supported by the US "leadership." So why aren't we excited about those? At any given time, bad autocrats are doing bad things (Xi Xingping for example). Why aren't we excited about that? Hell, we can't even get LeBron James to stop selling shoes in China much less any stronger sanctions. Why not? Why is it that we're all supposed to focus and be outraged about this one incident, that, although terrible, is hardly isolated even in this moment in time, much less across modern US history or even as something that the US might do (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya come to mind)?
Well, let's ask one other question: What aren't we talking about? Or, more specifically, what are we considered "petty" for talking about (thank you, Nellie Bowles and TGIF)? Answer: COVID policy and the unnecessary damage it caused, inflation (including gas prices), unchecked and unvetted immigration, governmental corruption the likes of which might make even Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs jealous, censorship, refusal of the FDA to be completely transparent about how they approved the COVID vaccines and what they knew about their efficacy and safety, the fact that we're still masking five year olds in, for example, New York, the rapidly diminishing middle class, the struggles of the working class . . . and, when it comes to Ukraine, the fact that the US backed the Maidan coup in 2014, Ukraine (including under Zelensky) never held to the Minsk accords (meaning the Ukrainian government was still outright killing people in the eastern part of the country that was meant to have some autonomy, until they had bigger problems, like Russian tanks pouring over the border), that Zelensky has jailed journalists and opposition politicians, and that there are literal neo-Nazis with their own battalion (Azov Battalion) in Ukraine and that the US--I'll repeat that, the US--is supplying them with weaponry and has been for years under the guise of arming Ukraine against Russia. And that we had an off ramp with all of this if the US and its puppet Zelensky had simply agreed not to let the Ukraine join NATO ever, something that was not realistically going to happen anyway because Ukraine is corrupt and unstable. If they had made that agreement, rather than walking away from the negotiating table, it is unlikely anyone would be dying right now.
So take your lesson from high school and apply it to what you're seeing now, and you'll become a wiser person than you already seem to be. (That's a compliment.)
“Now there’s a real-life war in Ukraine and a refugee crisis of more than a million people and we’re short-circuiting”
It is in fact a refugee crisis. However, there is a segment of our population, about half of it, who insist that destitute people who don’t speak the language flooding into your country is a GOOD thing.
Those people don’t get to call it a ‘crisis’. According to them this is going to be a huge win for the economies of Europe. This is a windfall for them, supposedly.
Meanwhile I shall maintain the principled and correct position that I held during the Afghan refugee crisis. They should go to the surrounding countries. They should not come to the United States. I’m happy to have some Ukrainian refugees and Afghan refugees in the US but that shouldn’t be option 1A.
And now everyone who called you a white supremacist for not wanting unlimited Afghan refugees is oddly silent about bringing in Ukrainian refugees. Why aren’t we clamoring for planes full of Ukrainian refugees? It’s because Ukrainians are less likely to hate the United States. That’s why.
Very good reminder, but I disagree that Kony 2012 or many of its successors, were ever noble causes. I was a teacher at a Catholic high school at the time, and in a 12 hour span I was inundated with emails and visits from students with the “we have to do something” alarmism. My takeaway was that this was tech, specifically facebook, “ringing the bell” for the first time, to see how much control they actually had. They affirmed their suspicion: A LOT!! I taught lessons about this being a wake up call, that tech now knew it controlled the malleable minds it had created. We see the fruits today as they have us chasing squirrels all the time, hearing the noise, while missing the signal completely. Kony was merely a device to see if the dogs would salivate. 10 years later, we continue to believe almost everything we are told to believe.
I'm one of the 45% of people who never heard of this before now, but then I'm older. This is one of the best written pieces on social phenomenon that I have read.
“The next Konyesque event that captured my world was a 2014 article in Rolling Stone about a gang rape at a frat house at the University of Virginia.”
Rolling Stone should have run a story about how the fake rape victims were being denied treatment at the hospital because the hospital was overwhelmed with Ivermectin poisoning cases (another fake story they ran).
Never forget that Larry Hogan lied about bleach poisoning cases calling 911. He’s going to try to run as a centrist Republican and he’s a scumbag. Evidenced by the fact that he got elected in Maryland, our shittiest state.
I think the key is to divorce yourself from the status quo, the superficial issues that inflame. We've become passive, mindless marionettes in this absurd spectacle, tucked away behind our precious feel-good illusions and ignorant of what we’re most assured, so easily duped by dubious narratives and fear campaigns whipped up by the totalitarian nitwits and demagogues among us that we'll believe anything so long as it makes us feel affirmed. More or less an existential crisis of sorts.
An entire book could be authored from this article.
Excellent article, Suzy! As an older teacher, I'm so glad to see someone of your age group admit an error! You bring an excellent perspective to your subject. Thank you!
Excellent article. Many appeals for help, and many political campaigns, are just ways of pulling in money. Tulsi and Bernie seem to fit the latter category. They excite their followers with real facts and real solutions, then pull out the rug and endorse the establishment at the last moment.
After one or two rug-pull experiences like this, most people give up on helping. Campaigners have figured out how to sort out the learners from the non-learners and keep the non-learners enthused.
The Sucker Filter is well known among campaigners and scammers, but not famous enough among the well-meaning givers.
Here's a brilliant explanation of how it works:
I remember Kony 2012 so vividly. My siblings and I were so confused as to why the West all of a sudden cared about our country… like a decade late. Great read!