Monday, June 6, 2011

Widening Perspective

A beautiful week since my last post. Temps in the 50's overnight and the low 80's by day. Low humidity. Perfect weather to be outside working or playing. It is easy to understand the allure of habitats that have this weather pattern all year long. Of course, perhaps I would miss the pretty morning snow squalls that I have described in past posting. Perhaps.

For the last few weeks I have been listening to the BBC world news report from 5-6:00 AM during my morning delivery. Like the TV version, the BBC world news presents news from the perspective of the people to whom the news is occurring as opposed to so much American news which seems to focus on how the news of other places effects us.

For instance, the BBC news about Yemen presents stories describing how the violence and unrest effect the citizens of that country. How alliances have formed, broken apart and reformed as the situation has evolved. Interviews with people on the street, generals, business men, politicians, all depict the wide variety of experiences that is life in Yemen.

American news on the other hand, seems to focus on Yemen as the new hotbed for Al Qaeda. No understanding of why this may be so, just that it is.

Are we so preoccupied with ourselves, our lives, that we are unable to learn about, or even try to understand other viewpoints, other experiences?

Or perhaps, to be completely paranoid, we are kept in the dark, purposefully. It is so much easier to justify the demonification of another people or country when all we know is that they are our enemy. To make matters worse, we are all so busy, good busy with our family and friends, and just busy trying to make ends meet, that we lack the time to invest in understanding the world around us. Again, perhaps for a reason.

It reminds me of the latest hand-over-heart, America-is-the-greatest anthem that is driving a certain possible presidential candidate and has attracted a great many "patriotic" followers. But when pressed for comparisons, the most vocal of this genre have not been out of the country, don't have a working knowledge of current events in other places, can't cite statistics or facts that back up their ideology. They are proud because they were born here. When I point out that people born in other countries are just as proud of their roots and history, and that, perhaps had they been born in another place they would have just as strong a sense of pride for that country as they do for America, I am met with... well, I guess you could call it befuddlement. It is if that possibility, that someone could be born in another country, that these American patriots could have been born in another country, and actually love that country, is just not possible. Almost an alien concept.

I have said it before, and will say it again; perspective is a funny thing.

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