Wednesday, September 19, 2001

i got my new driver's license today... with brand new holograms and double-picture protection. I feel so secure now... you can read more about the license here and here.

i have to admit that i tend to be emotionally and philosophically swayed by what i read in "alternative" media. i guess this feeling of distrust of was first taught to me by my middle school teacher, frank foreman, who would constantly encourage us to "question authority". i always took authority to mean the government, big business and the traditional media powers. hammer, my journalism teacher didn't necessarily teach us to think like revolutionaries but rather as journalists, constantly evaluating the world's events and the media's coverage of important issues.

i guess when i had arrived at college i had a good understanding of the importance of critical thinking and i think my focus on economics, business and asian american studies had a profound influence on how i see the world today. this long winded introduction wasn't meant to bore you but rather provide a preface to my reaction as i read this week's issue of the san francisco bay guardian.

the articles inside this issue dealt heavily with the horrific events of september eleventh but with a different, scary angle-- fear of escalation and knowledge that in at least some way-- we've brought these horrific events upon ourselves. from the funded training of terrorist groups to the mismanagement of middle east and international policies-- we can't bear to acknowledge that others around the world hate us for our policies and for our blatant disregard for the international community. (take a look at the chinese after the spy plane incident or america's refusal to pay its united nations dues) i am not saying that we deserve to be attacked but each of us has to look closely at our nation's behaviors and understand the perspective of our enemies.

i know that a wave of nationalism and unity has come over our country but i think that lots of people forget that patriotism isn't measured by the number of flags that you have on your lawn or the candles that you light after a tragedy. i couldn't help but shake my head as i read a full page ad in the paper from the ceo of boys toys, a strip club, who wanted to express his sorrow to the victims and their families. i'm sorry but i think that is a bit much- i like my purveyors of skin and sex to stay silent on most political topics (larry flint is excused, of course).

patriotism isn't something that develops overnight. patriots make it their business to stay informed, to vote and in almost all cases, patriots question authority and encourage debate. now, i'm no revolutionary but i would be hesitant to grant george w. bush-- full authority to declare war on any entity that he deems responsible for this horrific act. this is how wars like vietnam are started-- when the president no longer has to answer to congress or to the will of the country.

the afghan people are used to the brutality and horror of war. although many americans have blood lust-- i doubt they fully understand the costs that we may be forced to pay should we enter a war. we need to find the groups responsible for the bombings and bring them to justice-- but we need to all brace for the rocky road that looms ahead.

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