Friday, March 6, 2015

ISIL would make Lex Luthor cry for restraint

This issue is about ISIL. I chose to poke fun at ISIL in response to a reaction some in the United States have to those of us who question US foreign policy. The reaction in question is that they question our patriotism. People like Bill Maher rightfully point out that ISIL represents a greater threat to Democracy than any one issue in our domestic politics. I acknowledge this.

The reason that I am more vocal about smaller issues instead of an evil group like ISIL is because I pick my topics based upon awareness as opposed to my level of moral outrage. Nearly everyone barring a vocal minority is opposed to ISIL. The same can not be said about Climate Change or other issues I have made comics on.

Also different from Climate Change is that the government is actually taking action against ISIL. Again, using Climate Change, the same cannot be said. A large segment of our elected officials deny Climate Change even exists, and President Obama had to go as far as to veto the Keystone XL pipeline. I have done issues about legalizing marijuana in the past, but unless there were a referendum coming up, it would be less a priority now. There is widespread support for abolishing marijuana prohibition now.

Recently I did a comic in support of Transgender individuals. I did that instead of one that say supports gay marriage because while the tide has turned for gay marriage, Transgender individuals still get discriminated against. Yes, Alabama did stop issuing gay marriage licenses. There are people who are vocally against Homosexuals. Still, at this point it is clear they stand on the wrong side of history and popular opinion is against them. I do not feel the need to criticize them when the majority of the public already is against their views. (I also regret never doing a comic supporting gay marriage. I could not think of an idea which was funny. Another factor in what I make fun of. My first goal is to make people laugh and who am I kidding, my comics will not sway anyone's mind.)

When an issue is black and white, it is not as interesting to me. I would rather bash something like conservatism that has some merit as an idea.

Additionally, when I express the opinion that actions the United States has undertaken helped to create ISIL, I think it can be misconstrued. I would say it is fair to compare ISIL to the Nazis. They are both the rare kind of group which is unambiguously and astonishingly evil. Historians generally accept that Nazism was able to rise because of the harsh conditions imposed on Germany after WWI. They admit that the Allies in WWI had a hand in helping the rise of Nazism without excusing the war crimes the Nazis carried out.

In the same way, I disagree with the way US foreign policy has sometimes been carried out while not excusing the actions ISIL has committed. The world would be better off without ISIL in it. Part of the reason the postwar era of WWII was so successful is that the Allies acknowledged the mistake from WWI and avoided repeating after WWII. Extremists cannot be reasoned with, but perhaps young men could be prevented from being radicalized. Even the US government admits it could do better in the propaganda wars with ISIL.

I think that once ISIL has been defeated we will have to think long and hard about how to curb the sociological conditions that lead to extremism in the first place. The Middle East has been a violent place for a long time and if violence could bring about Democracy it would have long ago.

In criticizing Islamophobia I remember the embarrassing propaganda posters from WWII. The ones that depicted Japan with racist caricatures. It was not necessary to depict them in that manner to win that war. I think Islamophobia may one day be viewed with the same embarrassment we remember the racism from WWII.

If Islamophobia can be likened to McCarthyism, it is important to remember that McCarthyism made it more difficult to find communist spies, not easier. The way to defeat extremism is not to extol American values but to stand united with other cultures against it.

All that being said, as an American I still love my country and want to see it succeed in the twenty first century. I detest ISIL in the strongest way and find it to be unambiguously and cartoonishly evil. It is my sincere wish that the be eliminated from the Earth.

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