Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I Was Waiting...


...to use the bathroom at Target because I wanted to see what the big deal was all about. I started thinking about my old cultural anthropology professor at North Texas State University who may have been the most influential teacher I ever had. He was smart and knew things nobody else knew and so I often followed him to his office or the teacher's lounge to pester him to tell me more about his world view. He was a chain-smoker with a greying beard and he drank a soda as he smoked. One day he asked if I knew how to encourage world peace (whirled peas) and avoid nuclear war. I told him I didn't have a clue.

"It's not that difficult," he said. "Create an exchange program between opposing countries. Not a cultural exchange program, but a program that finds native wedding partners for women willing to emigrate. Create families by mingling genetic stock. It only takes a generation and suddenly the things that caused the original tensions don't seem as important. People are harder to demonize if some of them are your relatives. Intermarriage," he said, " is the way to promote peace between opposing countries. Nuclear war would never even be considered."

Next to compound interest, that was the most clever thing I'd ever heard and I wondered why the US government and the Soviets weren't already financing exchange programs. Would it work in Israel with the Palestinians? How about Syria? Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran?

Oh wait. Those exchange programs? They're already doing it! It's just that no American woman wants to leave the US to get married to some poor jerk in Slovokia or Honduras and, to top it off, even if one thinks they're leaving capitalist hell for socialist paradise, you can still leave your religion at the door  (as well as any comments one may have about the government).

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