Like any good suburban mother, I try to keep up on things I’m supposed to know about: important deadlines for class assignments, recalls on Goldfish crackers, Pinterest trends, and current events.
Yesterday I was hate-watching Morning Joe, just as I do every day. It’s not a 100% hate watch–I always have the small sliver of hope that there will be an interesting discussion of ideas. I’ve been a sucker for a panel discussion ever since watching Crossfire and The McLaughlin Group as a teen; I really enjoy hearing the perspectives of opposing sides. A real debate—one worth watching, where opposing ideas are exchanged–happens on Morning Joe about once every six to nine months. I watch every day, hoping that today will be the day.
Yesterday Mika was making judgmental faces and being a mean girl as usual, and Joe was mansplaining, and Mike Barnacle was agreeing with everything they said, and I just needed a palate cleanser, so I switched over to Fox News to see what they were talking about. Lo and behold, I learned that John Walker Lindh, American Talibani, was going to be released from prison, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Today.
MSNBC, of course, never said a word about this piece of news, in favor of endless harping on the Trump investigations. It seems to me like something important that people might want to know about—especially people in Louisville. If John Walker Lindh is driving or riding a bus or somehow traveling to be near his parole officer in Virginia, he’s probably passing through Louisville. The American Talibani is probably eating lunch at a local Golden Corral at this very moment. I’m home, with my security system set to “Armed Stay.”
I’m interested in what makes these terrorists hate America so much. I remember that, aside from the death and destruction on September 11, one of the biggest shocks to me in the aftermath was learning that people hated us that much. I’d heard of hijackings before, but I always thought that most people out in the world liked us and assumed the best intentions from us. Of course, an American member of the Taliban is even more inexplicable.
Kentucky is such a beautiful place and sometimes I think that if the landscape of the Middle East were this gentle and green, maybe people would be happier and less hateful. What if we brought the Sunni and the Shi’a to the South, and assigned them SEC football teams to cheer for? They could channel all that rage and frustration into sports, the way American men do. Then we could show them how to tailgate, and give them a reason to exist beyond killing infidels. They’d be rocking the Vineyard Vines shirts with the sleeves rolled up in no time, drinking bourbon and acting just like the good old boys from Mount Sterling. (Every Kentuckian knows that there has never been a bad person to come out of Mount Sterling; Mount Sterling natives only want to drink bourbon, look preppy, and have fun—in that order).
I’ve long wanted to have a big Sunni/Shi’a cookout, with lawn games. And we could mix up the teams so that they have to work together. We could have a dizzy bat race, croquet, tug-of-war, and a three-legged race. The key to this plan is obviously the three-legged race—just think of a Sunni Muslim and a Shi’a Muslim crossing the finish line of a three-legged race together, after mutually collaborating to win. Then they could all sit down to a nice meal together, with barbecue, potato salad, and popsicles and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Or we could we just start by going into Yemen and dropping ice cream sandwiches from airplanes. Ice cream is the cure for a thousand ills. I feel like world peace could happen if the president would just let me plan some social events for the warring factions.
I think I could probably charm ISIS, if I could keep them from beheading me long enough to befriend them. Put me on foreign policy and Middle Eastern diplomacy, Mr. President. I’ve got this all figured out.