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Photo taken during General Qassam Soleimani’s funeral.

No War With Iran

Empathy for your fellow man is the definition of patriotism.

I realized the other day that more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than during the events of 9/11, the supposed catalyst for all of this. Weirdly enough, I chuckled at that thought, not because it was funny but because it decidedly wasn’t. It almost It’s easy to be fatalistic here, on the eve of a potential new war with Iran, a war entirely of America’s making, again. It’s extremely easy to decide that this is how the world is, because it all almost seems predetermined by some vicious higher being, who has doomed our race to its inevitable self-destruction. Meanwhile, the rich continue to get richer and the poor die quicker.

War is ugly. Nothing can change.

And the ultimate question is what can I do?

As more and more kids are born, the Americans who knew a time before 9/11 are growing fewer. It’ll be even easier now to take for granted times of peace. I know I did. I grew up not caring about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the effects are only felt thousands of miles away, it’s easy to let bills, that promotion at work, relationships, or local drama fill that space in your mind. Everywhere I went the soldiers were treated as demigods while the terrorists were branded as demons. In church, school, home, and on TV, supporting our troops was American and blowing up terrorists was our pride. Erased were the half a million Iraqi citizens lives lost in the past two decades, and obliterated was any true measure of how much concrete good we were doing, occupying the ruined remains of now three countries. Ultimately, any notion of humanity or empathy for our fellow humans was far removed from the equation long ago..

What most people don’t realize though is that’s exactly what powerful people want. They want you to forget that which makes us wholly human, our empathy. If they take away empathy, they can do anything. If you think about all of life’s problems big and small. Everything from getting laid off at work to the insanity of the Middle East. The missing link is empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Moreover, it’s the ability to understand, appreciate, and learn from another’s perspective.

Those three points are crucial. Understand. Appreciate. And Learn. So on the eve of another war, I would council empathy in everything. Empathy for Iranian citizens and Muslims everywhere who will no doubt face yet another increase in hate crimes directed at them, empathy for our troops who were brazenly brought into harms way by our bumbling Commander-in-Chief, and finally empathy for each other.

If we lose our empathy the real bad guys win. So to answer the question above about what you can do? You can try to understand the Iranian perspective in all this. You can stay informed and learn to sift through the bullshit. You can appreciate that all war is bad. No matter what, and every effort should be made to avoid it. Less killing is always better than more. You can become an active citizen and learn what your representatives are up to, and most importantly, you can vote.

Don’t buy into the madness, and never forget our shared humanity.

Written by

Highly-rated member of the political bronze league.

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