Friday, September 30, 2005

"It's fun to share!"

Bear with me here... The above title will seem off-topic for only a minute.

I am tired, so very tired, of children's television programming that attempts to convince children (who are not stupid, just uneducated) that doing the right thing is more fun than doing the thing they want to do.

I've found one short program on Disney that violates this apparently otherwise-inviolable rule: Captain Carlos. In CC, a young boy is hungry. He has some healthful (mistakenly termed "healthy," but that's a post for another day) snack or meal in front of him, but his little sister, who's in league with the Devil, tempts him with junk food. Carlos, however, makes the right choice... and the narrator actually points out that (for example) "Cookies may taste good, but they aren't so good for you" as Carlos scarfs his vegetable soup. It's not very compelling as television, but it has the virtue of being truthful...

...which "It's fun to share!" does not. It's not fun to share when you're three. And it's not fun to take off your shoes in airports when you're thirty-three, or forty-three, or however old the commenter gmat at 6:44 on this post at Belmont Club may be. gmat said, among other things, "The fact is, four years after 9/11, it is still more dangerous, even in Iraq, let alone the rest of the arab world, to be pro-American than to be anti-american. And I'm still taking my shoes off in airports," which might lead us to believe that our goal in Iraq was to feel better rather than to do what we believe is right. As it happens, the United States shares with every other sovereign nation the right (in its first sense) to do what it perceives is right (in its second sense - or I may have these definitions switched) for itself; and as it happens, what we are doing there is also what is right in a sense beyond our own national considerations. We are not acting to oppress; we are acting to create a pied-a-terre for freedom of the individual in a place where that freedom has controlled very little real estate.

The other night I was (again) asking my husband the eternal question, "Do these people actually believe what they say, or are they just saying it because it furthers their agenda in some way?" To wit, does Rangel really believe that Bush is this decade's Bull Connor? I understand he later "clarified" his statement by saying that he meant that "Mr. Bush, like Connor, had become a rallying point for America's blacks." Is that a clarification or a backpedaling? Or merely an acknowledgment that the most vocal sectors of the American black community have lost all sense of history? (I leave aside Major Owens's "'even more diabolical' than Connor" response to Republican requests that Democrats reject the statement).

Does Michael Moore really believe, as he said in spring 2004, that suicide- and car-bombers in Iraq are that nation's "Minutemen"? Or does he believe, as he says in his latest "Mike's Letter," that they're the terrorists we've known them for all along- "Our vulnerability is not just about dealing with terrorists or natural disasters" - when his purpose is to lambast Bush for appointing Brown to head FEMA?

And how about Hillary Clinton? Can we make sense of her recent statement at a Washington protest rally, that "we need to break our addiction to foreign oil" by remaining "absolutely firm in our opposition" to drilling in the ANWR? Her solution to the obvious conundrum contained therein: "The answer to our energy challenge does not lie under the plains of the arctic refuge, but in the minds that are ingenious in America." Relying on the appearance of sudden inspiration hardly seems reality-based, much less a point of national policy. In the interim, in these times before hydrogen can be produced economically, before the tremendous and so far insuperable problem of energy storage at least as efficient as that represented by a gas tank has been solved, how else can we wean ourselves from foreign oil besides by producing more oil domestically?

Again, probably a post for another day. For now, let me stand up and say, "Vegetables do not taste as good as chocolate. Doing homework before playing with friends is a complete bore. And it is not 'fun' to share. But some things we do because they're right." One such thing: not scrambling out of Iraq ahead of an election cycle, nor gauging either the importance or the success of our actions there by how popular those actions are.

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