I couldn't sleep last night. So this is what I wrote to my friend on the other side of the aisle, sitting in his apartment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
There's something you have to understand about me. I'm a Peace Child. I came of age in the times of AIDS, the Cold War, nuclear terror. I am also literally a Peace Child, performing in the American premiere of a new musical in 1982 that was staged at the Kennedy Center, entitled Peace Child, about an American boy and Russian girl who, despite being scared and mistrustful of each other, got to know and understand each other, and set out to save the world.
I truly believe in the tribal notion of peace children, of going into other cultures that frighten or repel us, and getting to know and understand the deep underpinnings of our differences. I believe in knowing the enemy, not so we can crush them, but so we can learn to tolerate them, and perhaps become allies, in time. Doing such a thing as this is very important to me. I'm an idiot, I suppose, but I do believe that different cultures and wildly different beliefs can and should be allowed to co-exist.
I believe that this world has become a place of hate, and I believe we have done the world a great disservice by not understanding the rich, beautiful culture of the Middle East. I think we have made a grave mistake in keeping everyone so frightened of an enemy we cannot fight or combat directly that anyone and anything associated with that enemy... including innocent, wonderful men women and children very much like the Americans I hold dearest in my heart, including scarves and other innocuous signs and talismans, have become universally hated and reviled. I see us slipping down a very frightening slope that might just end up with Arab Americans in concentration camps along much the same lines that allowed us to put Japanese Americans there, before.
I know there are some evil men out there, and will concede that there are even evil women, too. But I also believe that if we allow an entire group of people to be condemned by the actions of a few, then we ourselves are damned.
I know there are enemies out there, enemies in our midst. But I also know we should bring unknowns to our hearts and make them our friends. We need to keep connected to the innocents, or too many will feel disconnected, abused, abandoned, and room for hatred is all that's left. I listen to the speeches on television and the propaganda campaign on the televisions and radios, and I hear echoes of another great orator whose mere words moved a nation to genocide. These are my fears. You go fight the really bad guys. I'll try to save the lives of innocent Arab Americans who make a real contribution to our great country, and who are scared and threatened by the nation they call home. Deal?
Now I'm going to try to sleep, but it's going to be hard. I have to examine why you're the first person I've met who feels the way you do, about Bush, about the government, about Guantanamo and our prisoner of war prison network... It says something about me that you're the first true conservative I've shared any views with. Am I living in a bubble, am I that open hearted? Are you right and I'm wrong? Are we both doing the best we can with the information we have?
You can watch the entirety of Taxi to the Dark Side by downloading it from a Torrent stream, but I have no idea if that's legal or not and have not sent you the link. The website has been pulled, but IMDB will have trailers, at least. I'll watch it with you if you wish, though I never want to see those images again.