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January 12, 2015

So, to be clear, I’m not Charlie Hebdo.  I think that deliberately pissing off people to sell subscriptions is a fine strategy, I’m just not up for playing it.  I definitely defend the right of the people to do stuff like that — it’s just not my gig — and I’m infuriated that there’s a whole culture of people who don’t have a sense of humor.

But that wasn’t why I felt like posting.  I’m more posting on the fact that so many people are shocked, SHOCKED! that nobody important in the US government showed up to the march in France yesterday.  I get that people are unhappy that we couldn’t stand with the world in a too-late display of solidarity against said people with no sense of humor.  But I’m not.

Mostly I’m not because, if there was anything to show yesterday, it was that no nation or people is above any other when it comes to certain issues.  Well, America should be above.  We should be the benchmark against which all nations hold freedoms of speech, assembly, and the like.  And I don’t necessarily think that showing sorrow at an after-the-fact demonstration of people who risk severe consequences over free speech makes a ton of sense.

But more to the point, if anyone in the administration had decided to show, it would have been about the administration, not about the US being represented.  That would have been even more infuriating to me.

I know I’m not being entirely cogent about things, but I just wanted to make the point that we can’t be better than everyone else if we’re either just like everyone else, or worse, if we’re just being about ourselves.

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