Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Starting Over with this Blogging Thing

We Americans are the champions of the fresh start, the "new leaf." Linguist Benjamin Whorf studied the language of the Hopi more than 50 years ago and concluded that the Hopi view of time was different than that of English speakers. Whorf pointed out that Hopi has only two tenses "manifest" and "unmanifest" (where as English has three -- past, present, future). According to Whorf, when speaking Hopi one can only talk of things that are manifest (do exist, have or are happening, in the realm of the real) and things that are unmanifest (dreamed, imagined, hoped for, anticipated, in the realm of the unreal). I always wondered if that meant that traditional Hopi native speakers had difficulty with most Americans' love of the "do-over" -- the "yeah, I screwed up, but now its a new day, let bygones be bygones" philosophy.

Personally, I'm not to thrilled with my President acting like "Fish" (Ally McBeal -- remember) and mumbling the political equivalent of "bygones" and assuming that we'll all just forget recent history (the lack of WMD, prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraid, six years of ignoring global warming, etc., etc.) .

But, what is bad public policy can also be good mental health practice for us as individuals, so rather than beating myself up over the months I did not keep up with blogging, I'm just going to start afresh.

Iran and nuclear weapons

I am inclined to agree with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who accused Western nations today of hypocrisy and said "I'll tell you, they are not concerned with nuclear programmes ... They are themselves engaged in nuclear activities and they are expanding day by day. They test new brands of weapons of mass destruction every day."

I am more than dismayed by the probability that Iran will join the nuclear weapon club, being an "ban-the-bomb" girl from way back. Nor do I believe that we should "do nothing." But I am adamantly opposed to all punitive approaches, whether military or economic. I have decided that any thing we might do to punish Iran creates far more long term damage to the world, than letting them proceed. What I advocate is a complete change in foreign policy that focuses on positive reinforcement. We dp more to deal with hunger, with AIDS, with poverty, with environmental destruction, with cultural imperialism. We become a genuine good neighbor.
Not a short term response, doesn't prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but in the long run might prevent them from using them.

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