Friday, June 20, 2008

Blowing Hard

100 posts! A milestone that is worth using as an opportunity for a little reflection on the project of being "The Proud Islamist."

**warning - this will be a bit of a ramble**

Not too long ago, a friend commented that she didn't understand many of the posts on this site. I'm not sure whether she was referring to the quality of my prose (which sometimes, I'll admit, makes more sense while being written than while being read) or whether they were referring to the issues and arguments I try to present, but I hope it was the latter. My response was that I don't always understand them either.

Reality is complicated. I am partially resigned to the fact that I am not going to be an authority on a great many things.

Pause for a moment to overcome your shock and disbelief.

Even if I could be an authority on everything, the fact remains that the intricacies of, say, fossil fuel distribution, or Somali politics cannot be accurately discussed in a 500-word post. Brevity is the soul of wit, but not always conducive to wisdom.

So what exactly compels this fellow, acting upon the presumtion that anyone in the world cares, to write up his opinions and post them on a blog?

I once was having a conversation with several Americans, some of whom were U.S. Marines, regarding 19th-Century U.S. history. The conversation somehow shifted to a discussion of US foreign policy. Given the audience, I naturally did my best to be tactful, but in the end I wound up asking my interlocutors if they thought it was possible that a U.S. President would send the country's troops to a war that he knew was not in the interests of average Americans. The reply?

"Listen, international politics is decided at the highest levels by experts and isn't for guys like you and me to decide."

Before I exploded, a wise person changed the subject.

Over the past 4 years I have had many opportunities to meet elected representatives, at the municipal, provincial, and federal level. My experiences have convinced me of one thing -
some of our leaders in Canada are STOOOOOPID. And we are the smarter bit of North America.

Being so doubleplus-unsmart isn't actually much of a handicap for them, though. As I've learned, being elected isn't so much about having a firm grip on reality and a solid grasp of policy - it's about being able to rapidly build relationships with large numbers of people, and to organize these people in such a way as to maximize their value to your cause.

Anyone who knows me will rightly deny that I have such a gift. Consequently, an outlet like this is a convenient place for me to vent my frustrations at those who display less than I do in the "knowledge and reason" department, but far more in the "power and influence" department.

The other motivation behind my writings here relates to the flooding of the Web, especially after 2001, with the increasingly popular writings of a number of distasteful characters. A lot of people are reading screes written by stupid, delusional, lying, delusional, clueless, sleazy, fearmongering, ultra-delusional, wannabe-journalists. The fact that our traditional media in Canada have been overrun by a few evil overlords is the injury to which all the preceding characters - and many more - are adding insult.

I may not be able to communicate perfect truth, but some falsehoods stand out plain as day.

So 100 posts ago, I decided that something had to be done. This probably isn't it. For now, though, it will have to suffice. By telling my version of the story, I discover the weaknesses in my own understanding of it. Even if no one hears me speaking in this quiet, imperfect voice, the Almighty will know that I tried. What will happen will happen, but what matters is where you chose to stand, and what your intentions were.

And so for that reason, I choose to remain The Proud Islamist.

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