Political Hand Waving

handwaiving_001Magicians generally rely on one principal for all of their tricks. They distract you with one hand that is moving so you don’t notice what is being done with the other hand that is relatively quiet. I also love the line from the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s dog pulls back a curtain and the man behind the Wizard of Oz is exposed. His phrase says it all: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” You can enjoy the scene here.

Perhaps you haven’t been keeping up with current events. You may not fully realize that we are at war once again. Really? Yes, really! But, now the politicians call this new style of war “no boots on the ground” so, maybe it isn’t really war. The news cycle now makes it more like a video game. All we see are pictures of targets in a cross hair that then disappear. Even the method of bombing seems so clinical: surgical. Somehow that seems so politically correct … as if we weren’t really at war. Just wait till some of our pilots are shot out of the sky like one the Israelis took a few weeks ago.

Yes, we are fighting a truly dangerous group of people. Yet, their gruesome tactics seem to be attracting converts to their cause all around the world, in part because of our news cycle. The more they get under our skin and we attack, and we then brag about how we are doing this or that, the more it seems their story becomes attractive to others. I think we really need to take a closer look. There are lots of terribly important questions here we are not asking. Is anyone else sickened by the recurring TV images of men in orange kneeling beside their executioner in the desert? Maybe we shouldn’t be giving them so much air time in our media? Maybe the news cycle itself is helping incite violence?

This reminds me all too much of the battle for cleanliness in hospitals. In the 1970s I served as Deputy Director of the Hospital Association of New York where I helped hospitals in the greater New York City area cope with a myriad of hospital operational problems ranging from staffing (RNs were getting very hard to find and others skills needed to pick up the slack), to scheduling (when do you admit certain patient types so you didn’t overload the staff on weekends or weekdays), to waste disposal. It was then that I learned that that the more we scrub and the tougher the chemicals we use to clean hospitals, the tougher the bugs become we are trying to kill. They mutate into forms that are immune to the methods we use. So, we make stronger chemicals and thereby create stronger bugs. This is, ironically, one of the many reasons we should not go to hospitals if we don’t have to … we expose ourselves to mutant ninja germs!

We talk of kinder and gentler ways to live in this world. Can we have a dialogue with those who have truly different points of view? Or, are we going to simply wave our arms in anger, attempt to control them with our technological prowess, only to watch them mutate and get stronger?

I want you to watch this terribly important news conference and notice how many are in attendance. Watch this right up to the end. There were more people presenting than listening in the audience!

What these men offered were serious comments to open a very serious dialogue. It is about time that leadership in Islam speaks out and condemns this. But, almost no one heard it. Am I the only one who is alarmed by this? It seems the news cycle would rather spend time commenting on whether the POTUS has a latte in his hand when he gets off Air Force One and salutes the marines.

Lots of hand waving going on … maybe all this hand waving is not what we should be watching at all.

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