By Guest Writer Adam Kapusin
If you have been on social media over the past few weeks, I can almost guarantee that you have seen the following three topics discussed: COVID-19, Afghanistan, and the upcoming football season. As much as I would like to discuss the upcoming football season, this isn’t the best place to do that. So instead, I’m going to focus on Afghanistan.
I know what you are thinking, and I would be thinking it too. Oh no, another post on what is going on in Afghanistan. Well, I’m a sports guy and not a military strategist, and that’s kind of the point. Neither are 97% of the people commenting about Afghanistan and what’s going on there. I’m not going to talk about the withdrawal strategy or what transpired over the last 20 years. I’ll save that for people who are much more intone with the details. Instead, I want to call out all of the fake outrage spewed all over social media
On August 1st, Afghanistan wasn’t even in the Top 20 regarding most searched for terms on Google. Yet, it was behind such important topics such as Evan Fournier and Matt Damon. The 20 years war in Afghanistan. The operation in Afghanistan had become like Lovebug Season here in Florida. You know it’s a thing, but you don’t talk about it unless you want to make a talking point. Every president since the operation started in 2001 has spoken about “wanting to bring the soldiers home,” but neither Bush, nor Obama, nor Trump actually did that. It wasn’t until Biden announced that he was bringing all of the troops home and the subsequent actions since that announcement have people “cared” about it.
I put the word “cared” in quotations, but they don’t truly care. Most of the outrage that you are seeing on social media now towards the withdrawal from Afghanistan isn’t about Afghanistan, but instead about making the current administration look bad. Need proof? Of course, you do. That’s why you come to Liberal Takes.
Immediately after Kabul’s fall, memes started coming up on social media to “Pray for Afghanistan.” This is interesting for two reasons:
#1: The people of Afghanistan follow a different religion than the people who are asking you to pray for them. Something about a “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God” doesn’t strike me as wanting to help others who follow a different religion.
#2: On that religious note, in July, those same people asking you to “Pray for Afghanistan” would call anyone from Afghanistan a terrorist for simply dressing differently and following the teachings of a different religion (even though Islam and Christianity have the same roots).
Next, it was “think of all of the women and children who will be brutalized in Afghanistan now.” Which is a valid concern. Under Taliban rule, women and children will have fewer rights and freedoms than they did previously. However, if women and children being brutalized was such an issue, why don’t those same people want to do anything about the atrocities committed on the Uyghurs in China? Why are the Uyghurs less critical than the Afghani people?
Another meme that is floating around is “Look at how much military equipment Biden left the Taliban.” This is very odd because the Biden administration didn’t leave the Taliban any equipment. The military equipment over there was intended to be left for the Afghani army to resist the Taliban before they laid down their arms. But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good meme.
My personal favorite is something that has been spreading around the past week or so. “Well, Trump would have never abandoned our allies like Biden did.” Which is just an odd thing to say when he did exactly that in Syria in 2018. Of course, we could argue the benefits/costs of that withdrawal and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the point still remains that the meme is incorrect.
Or how President Biden wasn’t at Dover Air Force Base to meet the families of the fallen Marines who died on August 27th, even though there is video footage of him and Dr. Jill Biden there. The list can go on and on and on.
And look, this is not a new thing. It may be new in the greater consciousness, but it’s been happening in society for decades now, just not in an arena that people pay much attention to… Sports. For decades, sports have been divided up between Us v. Them, Red Sox v. Yankees, Michigan v. Ohio State, Texas v. Oklahoma. Whatever negative things the other team does is magnified, whereas whatever your team does is normally brushed under the rug with excuses being found.
A recent example of this happened at the Ohio State University a few years ago in 2018. Their Wide Receivers coach at the time was Zack Smith. Mr. Smith had a history of domestic violence charges against him, including an incident where he reportedly threw his pregnant wife against the wall. At the time, Smith was working for the University of Florida under Urban Meyer. As a result of this incident and others, including additional domestic violence investigations, Smith had issues procuring employment as a football coach. When Urban Meyer was hired at Ohio State, he hired Smith to be his Wide Receivers coach with the understanding that “he has moved on.” Moving on, including additional domestic violence investigations including text messages between Courtney Smith (Zack’s wife) and Shelly Meyer (Urban’s wife) saying that Courtney feared for her life multiple times. I say all of that to say this… There are numerous people today who will tell you with a straight face that none of that is accurate and that it’s just a story created by the media to disparage Urban Meyer (sound familiar?).
Until we learn to take our “team blinders” off, we will never be the United States of America. We have to stop seeing things as Us v. Them, Longhorn v. Sooner, Democrat v. Republican, American v. European, etc… and see things how they truly are. We are all humans, even if we have different points of view.