Friday, September 14, 2012

Lowest Common Denominators Should Not Equal Foreign Policy

Since first hearing of the killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans at the American consulate in Benghazi, I have found myself in the uncomfortable position of not knowing what to think.

Scratch that.
I am infuriated, enraged at the attackers' apparent lack of moral logic and incensed at their religious hypocrisy.  How could these modern-day neanderthals treat our diplomats with such hatred, especially given Mr. Stevens' outreach to Libyan rebels following Qaddafi's ouster, all in the name of some low-budget glorified YouTube posting?  Do American foreign service personnel really have to conduct diplomacy on eggshells, ever-shifting due to the antics of the lowest brows in our nation?

Will the lowest common denominator in this country and their foreign counterparts provoke so much division to run the international show?  I reject the notion posed by Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai that "desecration is not part of freedom of expression but a criminal act."  Freedom of speech should not be hemmed by religious tolerance.  I don't believe the great religions of the world need tight-lipped political correctness to coexist.  In fact, I'd argue most world religions feature heavily the idea of moral transformation and salvation.  However, in  today's world of tailor-made media and screaming blogs, Facebook and YouTube, the most provocative and inflammatory get the most views.  The same media that fueled the Arab Spring, steered by provocateurs with different aims, can seemingly burn the whole world down.

Picking a fight with Earth's nearly 2 Billion Muslims is not the answer, not when this is our only planetary option.  Too many people on social media and mainstream media, are choosing to ignore the subtleties  of the 'world's worldview,' almost daring for a clash of civilizations.  That can't be God's wish for his creation, no matter the creed.  

Shouldn't American exceptionalism preclude our descent into xenophobia and 'nuke em all' hysteria?  Don't we exhibit our superiority to that track just in our daily interactions with our neighbors, coworkers and strangers on the street?  Didn't Ambassador Stevens' work on the ground in Libya personify such grand ideals?  

We as Americans are better than Sam Bacile and the Libyan thugs wasting their God-given talents provoking hatred and animosity.  We are better, and we must conduct ourselves as such, and not grasp for the latest battle cry that best amplifies our rage.