There’s a myriad of arguments of arguments both for and against the recent nuclear deal with Iran. However, there’s one argument that I’ve been hearing lately that makes me cringe whenever I hear it. I noticed it most predominantly on a recent Chris Christie ad.* The ad attacks the Obama administration of striking a deal with a country that for years has vocally opposed the States. Accompanying this message is footage that we can only assume comes from Iran of a protest, although it’s not exactly clear what the protest is about.** I take away that his point is that we shouldn’t support a country that has publicly denounces America, that we should keep them enemies.
Where’s the logic in that? Those are exactly the types of people that we want to try to make friends with. Keeping them enemies isn’t going to get us anywhere. A friendly relationship with somebody, despite having a different opinion from yours, is more constructive than an antagonistic one. If they are developing nuclear weapons, then we would want to avoid rubbing them the wrong way. I hate the idea of having a “nuclear deterrent,” but I’d rather take paranoia and turn it into friendship than continuing it, leading to disastrous results.
I must stress that you’ll notice that I’m only focusing on this one argument. As I said at the beginning of this post, there are numerous discussions to be had regarding our diplomatic relations to Iran. With this blog post I’m barely scratching the surface. I’m addressing a broad issue and using a recent big news story as an example. But it bothers me that this kind of bad logic is making it into presidential campaign ads. That isn’t a new issue but it is frustrating that there are still politicians using this hate-filled rhetoric to promote themselves. The worst part is that I’m afraid that there are people out there that buy into this crap.
But what if somebody started a campaign, not to run for office but to improve people’s lives in an individual manner regarding this problem? What if we make ads that show people making friends out of their enemies? One person in the video would make the first move to make peace with a longtime rival or bully. It wouldn’t have to be anything big. Maybe the office worker could bring cupcakes to work and leave one on his enemy’s desk with a kindly note. A person who works at home as a writer and needs to concentrate could offer to take her neighbor out for a drink sometime instead of yelling. These are little things, but if enough people make peace with each other then maybe this attitude could trickle upwards.
I’m not saying we would remove conflict or the anger that goes with it. (That would certainly make this blog more boring than it is.) Not everybody would even be able to make peace with everybody else. But really, I’m sick of the “they are our enemies because they were our enemies” argument, especially in campaign ads. Circular logic is all over the place in politics, but this is one circle that we should learn to break.
*Normally I wouldn’t give him the time of day but it’s hard to avoid ads on certain popular online video websites. Trust me, I click “Skip Ad” as soon as it becomes available. Of course, I do that anyway.
**Incidentally, since when do demonstrators stage a protest in favor of the government’s opinion? What exactly was the message of including that footage in the Christie video? That we should be opposing the people of Iran, the government of Iran but supporting the people, or does he assume that Americans are stupid enough to confuse the two?