Monday, September 26, 2005

The importance of Narrative or Yes, the Pro-Defeat crowd does worry me.

Kris of "Reflections of a Libertarian Republican" is one of the few who see the threat that I see. He reacts to the Sept 24 anti-American rallies in his blogpost Anti-War Rally in D.C.: Speakers Label Bush "War Criminal"; Call for Impeachment:

The massive scale of the rally was an indication of how much angst there is in the country, as well as an indication of how much hatred there is of the Bush Administration with its approval ratings around 40 percent. A head-in-the sand response from Republicans is inadequate. The opposition is very motivated.

Also read Christopher Hitchens' article: Anti-War, My Foot.

For a democratic society, the Narrative is immensely important in shaping collective action and promoting the collective will. The anti-American propaganda and psy-ops machine scares me - more so when the voice of support, the 'Why We Fight' message, is deafeningly silent in America. Since September 18, 2001, the day I attended the ISO meeting in Hamilton Hall that proclaimed 9/11 as their opportunity to resume the anti-American "revolution", I've been scared. From 2001 to 2003, I tried to make Students United for America that voice of support on campus and it was successful as a beacon of support. SU4A (now 'suA') has since changed to a non-confrontational format. They're not alone. These days, every qualified source of pro-mission support on campus stays quiet to avoid the pain of squaring off against the well-financed, unscrupulous, unregulated and aggressive pitbull guard dogs of the ISO.

The trend seems to be for the majority of mission supporters, both the ones I know personally and the ones I read on the blogosphere, to attempt to dismiss or minimalize the anti-American entities who are operating openly and professionally within our country and on the global market. Is that by strategy or are their heads buried in the sand? It would be nice to believe it's strategy, but I go with the latter. It seems almost to be a wilful denial of events. It smacks of the same boxed-in mentality that led ROTC supporters in Spring 2005 to believe lack of attendance at the pre-vote ROTC events boded well for us. When I warned them that the absence of senators was a bad sign for us, they couldn't understand. Not to mention that the majority of the same set of ROTC supporters failed to produce a basic level of activist support, things as simple as sustained postering and tabling, despite their promises and despite the fact they only needed to commit themselves for less than a month - the "sprint" to the senate vote. It draws from the same boxed-in mentality that even today, after all we've been through together, dismisses the ISO and fails to recognize their global threat, strategy and mission. Worst of all, despite my prodding, they seem to have abdicated their place - their voice - as campus entities to project support for our nation's missions and our champions. Unlike my side, the ISO truly understands what it means to "think globally and act locally". Their pro-defeat Narrative has spread far more pervasively in our society than most on my side will admit.

On September 11, 2001, I promised myself I would do something, and I chose socio-cultural reform of society via a grassroots movement at Columbia. I sacrificed a large part of my academic potential at Columbia in order to create a vehicle for pro-American, pro-mission, pro-military support. If I could do it over, I would stay within myself and join ROTC or re-enlist with the Reserves. I would abandon this university to its reductive yet arrogantly self-satisfied vision of itself, and do what everyone else does here - get out of Columbia with whatever I can get for myself. No SU4V-SU4A-suA, no ROTC movement and by extension, no CMS and MilVets.

Is this blogpost an overdose of angst and an inability to see the forest for the trees? Maybe, but from where I sit (the Lehman library computer lab in the International Affairs Building, thanks for asking), I feel an awful lot like I've lost my personal battle to reform the hearts and minds of my generation and to steel my people against a passionate, cunning and hungry enemy. I tried and I just wasn't good enough.

- Eric

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