Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How Can You Be So Sure?

So let's talk about Paris and terrorism and ISIS and bombing and Syrian refugees and all that fun stuff.

All over Facebook are posts about not letting Syrian refugees into the Unites States because they are a threat to our safety. Or in the converse, letting them in because it's the American Way to welcome refugees with open arms. There are posts about bombing the hell out of ISIS because of what they have done to the West. And there are opposing posts about not bombing because that just perpetrates the Middle Eastern view of the US and attracts even more terrorists to their side. Some posts are insistent that Obama is not doing enough to stop terrorism and should be leading the way, and others are sure he is too involved and should back off and let Muslim countries lead.

No matter which side people are on, the one thing they are sure of is that they are 100% right. Not only are they 100% right, but anyone who doesn't agree with them is SO STUPID!!1!1!!

There are the most brilliant minds - political minds, military minds - trying to solve the crisis in the Middle East. We have had our best minds working on this problem for decades, if not over a century. And they have not been able to solve it. They have ideas, all of which seem logical, and none have worked. Every new party in office tries their brand of solution, but no one has found the way to make peace.

But you, oh you! You have all the answers and are so sure about it. Anyone who can't see that you are right is an idiot! You watched Fox News who told you that Muslims can't be trusted, and you are puking that back up like it's fact. You watched MSNBC who told you that bombing is bad, and you recite it as gospel.

I wonder if any of these people have ever had a thought that was truly their own. When I'm trying to decide what I think is right in these types of cases, I read everything I can. I watch every news channel and hear out every pundit. I take in every bit of information I can, on all sides of the spectrum. And then I make a decision. And then, maybe I will read or hear some new piece of information that shifts my opinion. Or maybe it confirms my opinion. But I take it in and evaluate and create my own opinion...which is just an opinion. And even with all the research and thought I give, I'd never claim my way is the only way.

In a case like this, however, no one know what the right thing to do is. No one. Not Obama, not the presidential candidates, not the military leaders, not the political pundits, and certainly not you or me.

What will the repercussions be if we let refugees in? Will there be an increased chance of a homeland terror attack, with the terrorists sneaking in amongst the refugees? Will we turn the opinions of Muslims around by showing the generosity of spirit of the American people and our way of life?

What will the repercussions be if we don't let them in? Will it drive more Muslims to radicalize because it will be more proof that the US is against them? Will it halt local terror attacks because we have kept a bad element out of our society?

All we can do at this point is make educated guesses. All we can do is trust our leaders are doing all they can to keep us safe and to eliminate the threats that face us. So when I see people who are teachers or stay-at-home moms or cops or accountants who are so sure of the answers that they think the rest of us are stupid, I can't help but be filled with wonder at how they somehow know more than the people actually deeply involved and educated on the details of these issues. And I'm staggered by their arrogance and ignorance.

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