Wednesday, November 06, 2002

War on Abstract Concepts

War, by definition, involves a contest or struggle between people and tangibles. You know, stuff.

A contest between nations or states, carried on by force, whether for defence, for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce, for the acquisition of territory, for obtaining and establishing the superiority and dominion of one over the other, or for any other purpose; armed conflict of sovereign powers; declared and open hostilities.

How do you actually wage war on drugs? Or terrorism? Or poverty? Who is the enemy? Where are they? Where is their territory, or state? It's too ephemeral. Even a modern, mobile, and highly-trained fighting force like, oh, an army, can't wage war when there's nowhere to wage it and no one to fight.

It's like declaring war on dangling participles. An attractive idea at times, but a logistical nightmare.

Want people to stop dangling participles? You need to convince everyone -- civilians, "combatants", etc., -- that it's a Bad Idea™ to dangle participles.

How do you do that? Probably not by tossing bombs at them. Because, really, you don't know they're going to dangle a participle until they actually do it. And, equally really, duct-taping someone's mouth shut and calling it a "pre-emptive defensive strike" is not going to fly at most cocktail parties.

And that's kind of the problem, you don't know who the poor are, who the terrorists are, who the participle-danglers or drug addicts are, until they've already dropped below the poverty line, or joined a methadone program, or tangled their grammar.

So, too bad. There are people on this earth who don't have the same point of view as you. It happens. So, unless you're at a cocktail party and a fellow guest announces they're going to dangle a participle, in which case you may be justified in notifying them that they're violating international treaties and you're going to toss your drink in their face should they proceed, you may just have to live with the fact that, somewhere, out there, are people with no regard for the English language. Sad, but true.

All you can do is try to educate everyone around you as to the beauty, compassion, loyalty, trustworthiness, and inherent goodness of Not Dangling Participles. A longer, more arduous task, but one worth pursuing.

Rant At Non-Voting Americans

Non-citizens, if you enjoy watching me froth, read on. Otherwise, you might want to just wander away.

Dear Apathetic Non-Voting American Slob,

You didn't vote, did you? You thought your vote wouldn't matter, wouldn't make a difference, you couldn't be troubled to read up on the proposed law(s)/candidates, you slept in and didn't want to miss work, the dog ate your ballot pamphlet --

Whine, whine, whine. Give it a rest. You want to know what's wrong with this nation? I'll tell you. You not voting. That's what's wrong.

America is a participatory democracy. That means "government BY the people". Your vote matters because it's your vote. Patriots marched, agitated, and people have died for that vote. That one. RIght there, the one in your grubby little paw. The one you threw away.

And you're telling me you don't care? Can't be bothered to haul your pimply ass off the sofa for 20 minutes to go to the polling station? Can't be bothered to actually, like, read anything about, y'know, issues and stuff? Can't spare a single godamned brain cell for actual thought because you're too busy watching Access Hollywood?

Oh, but Sidra, there's no one to vote for that I like --

Welcome to the club. Vote anyway. Vote for deadlock. Vote for the lesser of evils, if that's all you see. Don't let a tiny segment of the population run away with your country. It's YOUR country, but if you don't act to claim it, it'll just slip through your fingers. When you don't participate, the nation ceases to exist.

So fucking vote. And if you can't be bothered, don't go calling yourself an American.