This morning my Spouse was frothing at the mouth about something she saw on the Internet - her main source of information is Yahoo and that will explain a lot.
Seems a person - I was told a Jewish professor - was waving an ISIS flag on the UC Berkeley campus. The flag waver was getting some "at'ta boy"s from the passersby. Then someone waved an Israeli flag and the flag waver, she told me, was verbally abused.
As a former honest (=print) journalist I decided to find out what really happened. With a little help from Google, this is what I discovered:
The flag waving was a test to see reactions to the ISIS flag and someone promoting the organization.
The person waving the flag also was telling people that ISIS was a good organization, that all it wants is a nation of its own; can anything be wrong with that?
Most of the people walked by the flag waver without comment; most ignored him - just another kook on the known-for-radicalism campus. A few students - male and female - an a grown up or two gave literal or verbal "thumbs up" to the flag waver, but the majority simply "ho-hummed" their way to wherever they were going.
Watch the Ami Horowitz short, Berkeley student reacts to ISIS flag (Ami on the Street) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOHJ06bsSow or at http://clashdaily.com/2014/11/unreal-wont-believe-berkeley-students-react-someone-waving-isis-flag-israel-flag/
The flag waver disappeared for a moment and returned waving an Israeli flag and challenging passers by that the problems between Gaza and Isabel are because of Hamas.
This brought more negative response from the passers by, but still not a significant amount of push back to the flag waver's remarks.
OK, THIS IS UC BERKELEY, BUT
UC Berkeley went to pot in the 60s, so being "out of step" with the rest of the country is about par for the course.
The support for the ISIS flag waver was probably greater on campus than it would have been in downtown San Francisco across the Bay - and San Francisco has a well-served liberal reputation of its own.
The negativity toward Israel also doesn't surprise me. College age is the "against everything my parents stand for" age. ('Course in some places, that would mean some Jewish kids would be staunch conservatives and pro-Israel.)
What DID surprise me was the LACK of response. Most of the passers by seemed as if they were in another world - hopefully one with exams in the immediate future rather than ones bordering on hallucinations.
The nearly total lack of enthusiasm for either side tells me that America's future may be in the hands of a generation of people who simply don't care.
That attitude is not limited to UC Berkeley or even California. The "I don't care" attitude also is not restricted to collegians.
The "failure" to which I referred in the hed is not about either flag; it is about the lack of interest in the ever shrinking world. Some say ISIS already has landed on our shores; I don't doubt it. Something needs to be done to pull our young people from their apparent lethargy, to get them excited about the world around them. Will it take another Viet Nam - but this time in our cities?