I have been thinking a lot about Aaron Sorkin ever since I read a few days ago that it is supposed to rain in Washington DC today. Sorkin often uses rain in his movies to indicate that “something bad” is about to happen, in much the same way that oranges in The Godfather indicated that somebody was about to be sleepin’ with the fishes.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
But the past year has managed to wipe out so many of those gains. Xenophobia, bigotry and institutions that make their livings by telling you who to be afraid of have conspired to generate short-term (perceived) psychic gains at the expense of the long-term development of civilization. Does that sound dramatic? Good. It’s supposed to.
So now what? Just how much are we willing to surrender by walling ourselves off from the rest of the world in the name of “safety” generated with models by people who are really bad at math? Because every time we stop communicating with others, we make the world more dangerous, not less.
I’m not here to claim that the world is not a dangerous place. There are bad people out there who want to do us harm, and we need to keep the country safe from them. But there’s a better way to do it than violating the liberties of our citizens, scaring away potential immigrants and celebrating xenophobia, and it doesn’t involve building a wall. Convincing ourselves that there is an absolute “right” and “wrong,” is an easy solution, is a lazy answer and risks putting us in the position where the solution only exacerbates the problem.
Happy January 20th, everyone. I hope you brought your umbrellas.
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