Perhaps, we are ready. Studies show learning cannot be forced. You can’t make a five-year old learn to read when he’d rather be outside chasing butterflies. Unfortunately, you can’t force a nation to learn when it isn’t ready to either. However, after the Taliban’s most recent example of evil, one that resulted in the deaths of over 130 innocent school children, we can hope the world is finally ready to learn we can no longer try and ignore terrorism and hope it will go away.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, people will naturally question why you would choose to ignore it and hope it would disappear. We often question why the homeless don’t seek shelter, the unemployed don’t seek work, or crime victims don’t seek justice.
And yet, since the 9/11 attacks, our government has been unable to establish strong worldwide support for its war on terrorism, even from nations who stand to benefit from its demise. Some nations pledged military support only to quickly pull out. Others wrote checks and stepped back while still more gave speeches condemning terrorism knowing full well the enemy was laughing at them.
Then there were the fence sitters, nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who have tried to placate both the United States and our enemies. The Saudis condemn groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS while funneling money to them to help their operations. They claim to abhor the violence these groups inflict, while overseeing an incredibly repressive regime of their own.
Pakistan, unfortunately for the children murdered by the Taliban, found out you can not make both the United States and terrorist groups happy at the same time and expect to go unscathed. You must choose sides or end up on the receiving end of the horror of terrorism.
Perhaps, we are ready. Maybe the images of murdered children, people having their heads cut off, or entire ethnic groups annihilated is finally enough to warrant real worldwide support to combat, defeat, and eliminate the world of terrorism. This means ending the terror in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, and that which takes place south of our border in Mexico and Central America. But then I ask myself, “Why do I doubt what I so desperately hope and pray for?”
Is it because as a nation, we have been so slow to learn from our own internal problems? Sure, we pounced all over terrorist groups and enemy nations following 9/11. We went to great lengths to make Bin Laden and his followers pay for their deeds. Still, we have much we have yet to learn.
Two years ago, we watched in horror as the news reported about innocent children being gunned down by a deranged young man at Sandy Hook Elementary. This came on the heels of several other mass shootings and unfortunately, more have followed. Why have we been so slow to learn from these horrific acts? Are we any closer to making help for the mentally ill more accessible? Have we been able to work out any type of compromise that ensures citizens the right to own guns while making access to assault weapons more difficult?
We are also still grappling with racism, poverty, and questionable police tactics almost 47 years after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Has there been any willingness by blacks or whites to attempt to learn and understand the cultures and people we attack inside our borders? Have there been any significant inroads toward eliminating poverty or do we still question why the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer? Do any of us really understand the challenges involved in being a cop and can’t cops understand why their methods come under so much protest?
The United States has been a leader in the world fight on terrorism. Nations turn to us for help and admire our desire to make this world a better and safer place for everyone.
Maybe it is time for us to look to other nations for help with our problems. There is nothing weak about turning to other multicultural countries to gain knowledge that will help us end racism inside our borders. There is much we can learn from countries who have virtually no gun violence. Maybe, in our quest to rid the world of terrorism, we can gain the insight and wisdom needed to confront and conquer the ills that plague our nation. Perhaps, we are ready.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.