When there’s a major event in history I want to take it personally.
Will there be an air strike on Iran before this issue comes out? So far Trump planned and canceled a retaliatory strike of some sort. They’re usually air strikes. Invasions are too messy.
We know they have drones in the area. One was shot down. Our government has registered outrage that our own unmanned spy plane was shot down for doing nothing but flying in clear view of the people it might probably have been spying on.
You’ve got one drone that spies, you’re bound to have some that shoot.
I’m sure this is all just to worry me. I take everything personally.
The good news: Trump’s MO is to do something dramatic but ineffective. Then, in the midst of alarm, he declares victory. His base eats it up because it has cool flashing lights, loud noises and smoke.
It could happen like this: Unmanned drones strike a deserted beach so no one on either side gets hurt; then Trump announces he’ll accept offers from Iran to negotiate peace. By the way, he’s beginning to like this guy, what’s his name? Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei? Trump will then say, “You know, I wouldn’t mind if people would start calling me Supreme Leader. I think that would be very gracious of people if they did it. Just saying.”
Or, he’s crazy enough that he could decide to nuke them.
Whatever happens, I don’t expect a ground invasion — like the 2003 Iraq War. I don’t think we’re going to watch hours of videos of Seventh Cavalry tanks racing toward Tehran with the Garry Owen playing on speakers.
There’s talk of trying to get both the Saudis and Israel to ally with us in actions against Iran, if and when it gets to that. All the more reason I can’t believe it will get to that.
Yet, I still take everything personally. In 1977, when I taught an evening course at the UW, I had three or four Iranian students in my class. They were politically active and spoke about Iranian politics before classes to other students who would listen. So I found out that a revolution against the Shah was being planned.
By 1979, I was working in Europe when Shah Pahlavi was ousted and the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and set up his government. I felt honored to have received advance notice.
It all happened a few months after the Jonestown massacre of which I had no warning whatsoever. It was nine years after that before the universe made up for the oversight by allowing me to meet a homeless guy who claimed to have once met Jim Jones, so I could finally have the personal connection I felt I needed.
But I was talking about Iran. When I got back to the states in late 1979, I was teaching again, this time in New Jersey, and I was strapped for cash, so I lived in a boarding house. It turned out that one of my housemates was an Iranian electrical engineering student. We became good friends. Then, in November, the Iranian hostage crisis began, and we talked about it every evening and got to be better friends.
We worked out our differences and agreed that we could both not be fans of either the Shah or the Ayatollah, and no harm would come of it. I consider that a testimony to the value of foreign student exchange programs — diverse people coming together and finding peace and harmony. We ate a lot of rice and yogurt, too.
My feeling is that I’m unusual, since most people never look for personal points of contact with wars, airstrikes, hostage crises or massacres. It seems like people don’t feel they have time or energy to form those kinds of connections. Some of them have even told me they’d rather play Minecraft.
Further musings in abnormal psychology:
Is negativity contagious? Does following negative news stories cause them to “get you, or get your loved ones?” If you talk to a homeless person, will some of the homelessness rub off on you? If you allow yourself to take note of mass shootings in the news, how long before you are mass shot or you mass shoot? If you think these questions are about you, give yourself 10 points. If you don’t, give yourself zero points, but be glad you’re safe.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
Read the full June 26 - July 2 issue.
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