Man, I am SO happy that I’m a Political Science major! I can’t say it enough! I will NEVER have to worry about looking back and saying “man, why didn’t I major in Political Science?” That right there is a mightily compelling reason! But there are a lot more reasons as well! A LOT. For one, the stuff that I’m studying here for Political Science is REALLY giving me a lot of good ideas for writing fiction! Man, the Middle East is such a complicated area of the world, with so many conflicts and such diverse cultures, religions, and ethnicities…there is no shortage of questions to ask and stuff to explore! And Science Fiction (and fiction in general) is one very valid and interesting way to explore it! I mean, take any aspect of the Middle East, and say “what if we do this to it?” Put it in a sci fi setting, and you’ve got the potential for an amazing story! Or take the problems that we’re struggling with in the region, isolate them, and write a fictional world where the characters struggle with those same problems. Add in some imaginative stuff, some awesome technology, compelling, well-written characters, and all that, and you’ve got something EXTREMELY relevant to the real world! Even more so because it’s fiction, because if it’s written well, you’ve put it in a setting where people can look at the problem without being so burdened by their silly and irrational prejudices! But besides that, just from studying something like Political Science, I’ve tapped into an AMAZING source of ideas and inspiration for my own writing! Even if I just wanted to write fiction for the sake of writing fiction (and honestly, I really think that almost any other approach is going to backfire–ESPECIALLY the dogmatic approach), by studying Political Science, I’ve opened a fountain of ideas in embryo that are just screaming to be born! MAN! I am SO happy that God put me in a place where I could study Political Science!!!
There was an amazing lecture today at the BYU Kennedy Center. Reza Aslan, author of No God But God, gave an excellent lecture on Iran and US-Iranian relations. Just in case you don’t know, relations between us and them are…well, let’s just say that they’re pretty freaking bad.
Please, PLEASE, PLEASE pray that we don’t start bombing them! Just when you thought the US couldn’t shoot itself in the foot any more (because the freaking Neocons have been doing a @#$@! good job of that since Sept 11th–either they’re EXTREMELY stupid, or, for all intents and purposes, they are traitors to this incredibly wonderful country we call the USA), Dick Cheney and his neocon goonies start sounding the war drums. Right now, just about every missile in the Middle East (and we have troops in EVERY COUNTRY bordering Iran) is pointed at some target inside the sovereign Islamic Republic of Iran. Not good…definitely not good!
But I learned a little bit today WHY it’s not good…and the reason was very surprising! If we launch airstrikes against Iran (and we almost certainly won’t do a ground invasion–not because the Neocons aren’t stupid enough to make that blunder, but because our military simply doesn’t have the capability to do it!), it will play right into the hands of the extremists and tyrannous clerics who rule (under, may I add, upwards of a 90% popular disapproval rating)! In fact, according to Mr. Aslan, EVERYTHING we have done in that region FOR THE LAST THIRTY YEARS HAS PLAYED INTO THE HANDS OF OUR ENEMIES!!! It’s been an unrelenting disaster! Reza Aslan made a very compelling argument that if we were to end sanctions, recant regime change as the stated policy of the United States, and do everything to open up that country to the rest of the world (“we should be prying it open with a crowbar,” he said), the horrible, cruel, autocratic clerics wouldn’t have a leg to stand on! It would be like China–you look at it now, and it is DEFINITELY not a communist country! I mean, in name it is, and it’s not yet a democracy, but it’s a far cry from what we saw under Chairman Mao–that spawn of Satan himself!
And the big difference is that Iran ALREADY HAS almost everything a liberal democracy needs! It has a thriving civil society, with all kinds of NGO’s, Foundations, Institutions, etc, it has a rising middle class, it has a constitution with legislative, judicial, and executive branches, it has regular elections…it’s just that all that power rests with a handful of tyrannical clerics! And the only way that tyrants stay in power (according to Mr. Aslan) is by isolating their people! Man, if we would just OPEN UP to that country–I mean, if they weren’t so scared of us, it would be a LOT harder for Ahmedinejad and his cronies to get people to support the Iranian nuclear program! I mean, the average Iranian cares a lot more about the economy than their nation’s foreign policy! That’s the only reason they elected Ahmedinejad in the first place–and the reason why he’s so unpopular back home right now! Everything we’ve been doing in the history of our dealings with the Islamic Republic of Iran has either helped our enemies or hurt our own interests, and it’s HIGH TIME we had some change!
Ok, I’d better calm down (note to self–breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out). But MAN! You see why I’m so happy that I’m a Poli Sci major! And the cool thing is that this stuff really has some potential for some good stories! I mean, just about every time I learn something new about the Middle East, I think to myself “Oooh, that would be really awesome to put into the story I’m writing!” It’s gotten to the point where there’s just too much stuff to cram into one novel! Fortunately, I can write others. But man!
I mean, I felt like my eyes were totally opened today! Up until this point, I’ve seen Iran as this scary, totalitarian nation led by a crazy, maniacal leader, bent on the destruction of all that is good and holy in the world. Even when I’m rational enough to realize that that’s probably not all true, the idea has been lurking in the back of my paradigm. But this lecture painted the picture of a completely different country! A civilized, rational, highly cultural, and essentially peaceful people who are working, despite the interference of the United States, to free themselves from the rule of a few bad men! Man, this lecture made me want to study Farsi and travel to Iran, for heaven’s sakes! I might just do it! I just might!
At the very least, I’m going to read this guy’s book and subscribe to just about every raw news RSS feed that I can (AP, NPR, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, Agence-France, etc–basically, the ones that Drudge links to) so that I can have a heads up on what’s REALLY going on in this wonderful world! I mean, I just learned from Mr. Aslan that representatives from EVERY MUSLIM SECT got together a few months ago to sign a document calling on the Christian world to help improve relations and fight extremist fundamentalism in both religions! I mean, imagine the press we’d be hearing if all of the Christians sects did something like that! It’s unprecedented! I don’t even think it would even happen! And yet…where was that in the mainstream media? Buried somewhere. Time to start digging it up.
Man, I am SO GLAD that I’m a Political Science major!!!