It Does Not Go Without Saying

It Does Not Go Without Saying

Adrienne BoettingerMonday,22 August 2016

CNN was on at the gym the other day and there was actually a headline saying “Saudis Should Stop Bombing Hospitals, Schools.” Because we live in a world where apparently it does not go without saying that everyone should just know that bombing a hospital or a school is really terrible. Like punching a baby, kicking a puppy, stealing crutches that a nun was about to donate to a blind, impoverished man who had just sprained his ankle trying to rescue an asthmatic kitten from a tree, terrible.

Now we are talking about our “partners in peace” who do have a somewhat unconventional idea of what’s acceptable and unacceptable, particularly when it comes to the multi-year civil war in Yemen but still — aren’t there some basic things we can agree to? I guess this is pretty rich coming from a ‘Murican whose country has bombed weddings, hospitals and much more but deep in my most patriotic of hearts I don’t believe any of that was intentional. And maybe it wasn’t for the Saudis either. But how do we confuse a hospital with a valid military target? Do military bases in Yemen also serve terrible Jell-O?

It’s weird but the more globalized we all become and the easier it is for us to compare experiences you’d think there would be some basic things that we could all agree should go without saying. Like it should go without saying that someone running for office shouldn’t encourage a foreign power to hack into their country’s networks and steal information, and it should go without saying that we shouldn’t slander entire races, religions, or genders. And it should go without saying that if you say you have delicious Smith Island Cake on your menu then goddammit! There should be delicious Smith Island Cake available to the people or order it. (Sorry, it’s been a rough week).

Maybe the problem is that we don’t have the same, shared expectations. Like I expect that I should be able to be pulled over by a police officer and not have to fear that I’ll be charged for something I didn’t do or accidentally shot. And that police officer probably expects the community he works in to be glad to see him and not be out to get him.

At the most basic level, that old golden rule really does make the most sense. If I don’t want my own local hospital to be bombed, I should try not to bomb hospitals in other countries and I should also expect that people in another country don’t want their hospitals to be bombed either. If we want people to listen to the words we use before they condemn us, we should do the same for them.  If I want someone to be tolerant of my religious beliefs, or right to have no religious beliefs, then I have to be tolerant of theirs.



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