This may be completely off topic, but it’s an extension of the argument I tried to make in the discussion on war and media:
How do we know that there is a war going on in the Middle East? Think about it. If I asked you how you knew there was a war going on in the Middle East, how would you go about explaining that? Would you show video coverage from a journalist who was caught in the middle of an ambush? Show the planes crashing into the Trade Center towers? Maybe present spreadsheets, documents, or orders for deployment? Satellite footage of Bagram Air Base… How would you even know that a place like Afghanistan even exists? I’d tell you that I believe there is a place called Afghanistan, and I do believe there is a war going on there, but only because I’ve spoken to soldiers who have fought over there, who have seen horrible things and tell me about them. And I’d believe any story they told me over any news story covering the war.
I guess the point is that we’ve become so concerned with global affairs, but we don’t live our lives globally. We live them locally. We are involved in the communities surrounding us and it’s ok if we have no interest in foreign affairs. It’s like when you see that old, white-bearded man holding the two-year-old girl who’s looking at you like a lost puppy in a third-world pound. Sure you feel sympathy. I’d question you if you didn’t, but are you going to do anything about it? No! Of course not. Why would you? There are so many unanswered questions. Who is this guy? What country is this? Is this a legitimate program? What happens when she gets my money? New shoes? New shirt? Will she use it for drugs, alcohol, or give it to her older brother who is fundraising for his gangster horde who buys arms from the old, white guy? I’d much rather give this money to my church, or use it at a bake sale for my little cousin’s trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, or maybe I need to buy groceries. That’s important right?
Do you want a fantasy reference? I don’t care if you don’t because here it is: I keep thinking of those little hobbit guys living in the Shire in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books. These people literally lived within five miles of themselves. Their food, their clothes, their beer, entertainment, education, all of it could be found within a five mile radius of their homes. Thos little creeps didn’t know a thing about the outside world and they were all happy as a clam, or I guess, clams. Sure, we may be called to a global purpose at some point in our lives, but why are we so damn opinionated about things we aren’t even sure are actually happening? Maybe it’s a little extreme, but it makes a whole heck of a lot of sense.
I’m reminded of another story. This is it and then I’m done. I promise. But it’s a story about a boy who left home and traveled the world and came back an old man. And when his family and friends asked him about his travels and what the cities were like, you found out that the old man had an extremely outdated view and described the cities as they were fifty years ago. Imagine someone visiting America, then going back home and describing our culture today as it was in 1963. Wrong!
We do not live in a global community. Maybe someday we will, but not today. I’m all for being opinionated, but let’s discuss topics we actually know something about. I’ve never seen war. I’ve taken terrorism classes from a LTC who’s had many deployments. I’m studying military science, been to basic, AIT, and LDAC so I may have a few opinions about the war and the United States army in general, but I honestly don’t give a rat’s tail about anything outside my immediate, day-to-day life. And I think that’s alright.