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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Revolution, Social Media & Me

Since the middle of January I have been intently following events in the Middle East. Being a minarchist, whenever a dictator, theocracy, kleptocracy or union buffoon gets their comeuppance, I'm in. Things really took off during the Egyptian revolution, and by the time Libya was in full swing I was actually ahead of most of the general media in terms of knowing what was going on. It was exhilarating and exhausting.

I started up this blog again on February 13 after a one year sabbatical so I would have a place to post all of the information I was receiving. Since then I have received about 150 hits a day from over 20 countries. Needless to say my head is having a hard time wrapping itself around all of this.

People complained about and thanked me for my obsessive relaying of information via my social networking accounts.

On Twitter, I argued with a fellow at the Brooking Institute in the UAE about democracy and how you can't have it without equality for women (my point), and how I have no right to talk about democracy with the US's history regarding minorities (his point). I won that battle by simply pointing out how we have eradicated institutional democracy after we both agreed you cannot change the hearts of people.

On Facebook, I saw a picture of a man in Yemen who was shot in the head get defiled by a silly caption about a boxing match. The poster probably thought he was being funny, because after all, those people who aren't Americans aren't well, people I guess. Unfortunately its a mindset around these parts.

I forced myself to read the opinions of people who hated America as well as the opinions of people who didn't. I got aggravated, consumed and educated. I found myself distracted 24/7 by events in the Middle East simply because I was able to digitally take part. This was a completely new experience.

I actually got to the point where I had to take a break and remove myself just to recover some semblance of a good mood.

Through it all, and in the midst of it still, I have come to a couple of conclusions:
Once again it has been proven that revolution and freedom come from the ground up, not from some existing political entity.
Ignorance about other people is not a particularly American problem, but a lot of Americans are okay with suffering from it.
It is time for the US to become independent from as much foreign oil as possible by immediately opening up all avenues of oil extraction available to us in this country. It is we who are slaves to the unrest there.
It is time for the US and the West to stop meddling in the affairs of the Arab world and to let things come to their natural conclusions. Meddling only causes further problems. All troops home as soon as reasonably possible.
The American people are respected across the world for their love of freedom and dedication to liberty, but our government is not.

I truly believe that popular music changed the world, albeit in a smaller way than we all hoped, and I truly believe that social networking has the potential to ignite freedom and democracy in every corner of the world. That's a good thing, and we should all take part.

Now I have to get back to my Twitter account...

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