Bunny and I have been closely following the feedback we've received for the Ehren Watada episode we posted at YouTube.
We're not surprised that there's been negative responses. But what was really eye-opening for us was the feeling of rage and hate that dominates the language of the negative feedback. There's not much reasoning going on, not much analysis or argument. Mostly name-calling, racist epithets, and exclamations of self-evident 'truth'. It's weird how people can sound so sure of what they believe even though it appears (based on the logical gaps and misinformation in the responses themselves) that they haven't done much research into the matter. So bizarre: If someone doesn't make the effort to sort out the facts and historical foundation of a given situation, why would they then feel justified in expressing their position with such simplistic and self-assured language?
Until we've done the research on any given subject, it's actually pretty obvious that we don't have enough information to form a well-informed opinion on that subject. In other words, until we do some kind of inquiry into the matter, we are, by definition, ignorant. I don't think there's anything embarrassing about admitting that.
So how come so many people think it's okay to make hurtful declarations, directed at an individual or a group of people, based on nothing but stereotype and preconception? Isn't it useful to think carefully about where and how we learn the things that we are positive we 'know'?
Probably until the day I die I am never going to understand how it came to be that human beings can have so little compassion for each other. I can understand that somebody who is very smart can review all the same information that Lt. Watada did, and then come to the conclusion that he should be sent to prison. After doing some research, I can say that I've actually come to the opposite conclusion, but to be real, of course I believe that it's also possible to see things differently. If I disagree with you and it's important enough, I'll try my best to try to convince you that you should think differently. And maybe there are even some situations where I might even fight you for what I believe in.
But I hope I will never take pleasure in dehumanizing a human being. I doubt there has ever been anything good to come out of reacting to a situation clouded by hate and hasty judgement. What are the benefits of strong, decisive action based on misinformation or misconceptions?
I've been told that human beings should try to respect each other - not just when they are alike, but especially when they are different. Does this also apply to differences caused by the holding of different ideas?
The self-assured believer is a greater sinner in the eyes of God than the troubled disbeliever. - Soren Kierkegaard
I doubt that many of the people who are directing the most scathing words toward Lt. Watada could bear the emotional weight of a million people's animosity for even one day. And if that concept seems hard to even imagine, then I think that means something too.