Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mistaken Identity, Mistaken Outrage

As I've said before, I have an old email account that is fairly simple to type and remember. Unfortunately, that means that a few people through the years have mistakenly attributed my email address to someone else. As of right now someone thinks that they are emailing Jeff "Rusty" Rouston and someone else thinks that I'm a sheriff's deputy in Indiana.

The deputy mistake is mildly entertaining. If nothing else, I get an interesting insight into public event security planning. The Rusty mistake has been annoying more often than not, usually it's chain mail forwards that I would debunk for any friend. Last night, my Rusty persona received an email from Janet, who is apparently outraged by Obama's policies on defense spending, specifically one YouTube video posted with an anti-Obama slant and a blog post (linked from the email) that reinforces the same opinion.

I'm going to highlight some aspects of the video and Janet's reaction. It really is interesting, because I don't think I personally know anyone who would be so outraged by so little. First, here is Janet's reaction, which was originally in a 20 point bold red font:

Whether you are democrate or republican..........This should scare you!!! It scares me!!! I want to continue feeling safe in my counrty. -janet

Now the video she's responding to:

So, let's look at what Obama is saying: He will end a war that has become completely indefensible. He will cut unnecessary and unproven defense spending. He will try to slow other defense spending by limiting research into future weapons. Also, he will increase oversight of spending. Lastly, he will attempt diplomacy with other nations so that we don't need to spend so much because we won't have so many staunch and powerful enemies.

Uh, why is this scary? Notice that what he's said is that he'll get rid of unnecessary, unproven, and failed things. He's not saying that we won't have guns and missiles, or that we'll start defending our country with flower power. He also isn't promising any huge cuts in existing successful programs. No where did he claim that he would cut the military's size in half like George H. W. Bush started and Bill Clinton finished. He doesn't even promise to rid us of nuclear weapons, just to take them off of constant alert status. These aren't huge changes, unless you're a defense contractor or a warmonger.

Now, let's dig into what Janet said. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican you should be scared by Obama's stance is a ludicrous statement. He's repeating the same stance that many Democrats, and a few radical Republicans (I hate to mention the name, but Ron Paul springs to mind), have held for decades. More importantly, she unknowingly reveals the real problem she has: she wants to feel safe, she's far less concerned with being safe.

What she wants is the current security theater where we spend trillions to fight an attack that will never happen while we are in the middle of an economic crisis. To her, and people like her, we must pump money into a system where we seem imposing, instead of putting effort into a system where others recognize that we are not a threat. She's scared because Obama might provide real security, but it isn't security she can touch, it's security she simply must have faith in.

She, like so many others, has lost faith in people. When we have no faith in each other then we build barriers that look omnious, are dubiously effective, and serve to destroy others' faith in us. She didn't even have faith in me when I replied to her email last year and said that I'm not Jeff "Rusty" Rouston.

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