The great part about having a blog is not that I get to share my opinion, but rather that I get to enter into meaningful discussion with readers who take the time to message me. I love it, even if I don’t agree with them and even if the reader has something to say that shocks me. After all, opening your mind to other possibilities isn’t easy business.
In a previous post, I referred to the power of even one drop to create a huge wave, the force of which can change whole beachfronts. Perhaps I should also look at it the other way, i.e. the power of one drop to create a storm, or a whirlpool. I’m not sure which metaphor I’m going to go along with, so please bear with me.
I checked my inbox this morning and lo and behold! I had an email from a reader I had never read from before. Oh, how excited I was, until I read the text. I have copied part of the email below, correcting some pretty bad mistakes I couldn’t bear to see posted on my blog. And perhaps, maybe, probably, I did take out a couple of swear words, too.
So the email went something like this.
“You’re such an idiot. You have no idea what you’re talking about – just like everyone else, you just go on and on about a president who is going to be bring America to its knees. His socialism has already started getting us in trouble – he’s getting rid of the one prison facility that gave us an edge over them. Because of some stupid PR that is meant to make him look good to our enemies, over 200 dangerous prisoners are going to be released and return to their homes and guess what they are going to do – become terrorists again! Who cares if they were tortured. They don’t deserve to be treated gently – after what they did, they should be tortured even more so that we can weed out every single one of them. And now we are seeing his true Muslim side – he has started talking to our enemies, probably to sell America to them.”
Now first of all, I will admit to the fact that I thoroughly cleaned up the text of the email. Seriously, not only I couldn’t leave the swear words in, but I couldn’t leave the terrible sentence structuring in, either. And for the record, he didn’t call me an idiot; he called me something else that very loosely (and tamely) translates into idiot. The original to this email has already been deleted – I don’t think I need something like that infecting my personal cyber-space.
Second of all, just because Guantanamo is closing doesn’t mean that justice won’t be served; it only means that another, hopefully more humane, way of administering it will be put in place. I don’t think Barack Obama is planning on throwing the doors of the prison open, nor do I think he is thinking of relocating prisoners at the Ritz. Remember: he is working on its closure, which means that a set of protocols are being developed to ensure the safety of Americans.
I would even argue that if the closing of Guantanamo is well done, it could actually increase the safety of Americans. Keeping it open has only served to perpetuate the cycle of violence, while closing it and treating prisoners with dignity – deserved or not – won’t give
As for opening up communication between Arab nations and the United States: that’s the best thing Barack Obama could have done. Diplomacy should be the first tool we use; war should only be used when grave injustices are done – perhaps it should have been used to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, for example. Talking to your enemy isn’t the first step to selling yourself short; it’s the first step towards cooperation and – who knows? – friendship.
So, to the person who sent me that vicious email: thank you. Please continue sharing your thoughts with, and don’t be offended if I delete your emails when they are vicious. I would actually prefer you share your point of view as a public comment, so that others can also join the discussion. But I would appreciate you not using the same language as you did in your email to me; I reserve the right to edit out crude language.