To get my fair share of abuse
... but there wasn't much abuse to be had. Here in Kalamazoo "more than 300 people" (local news estimate) showed up at the federal building last night to stand vigil regarding the war in Iraq.
Back when this invasion began, support and verbal abuse ran about half and half. Last night, only one driver suggested we "get a life". "Fair enough," was the response on the line. No fingers were furled, except as peace signs. This is an unscientific sampling, taken by a intuitive extrovert (me) on a street corner in Kalamazoo. Next door in Portage, where they never saw a parking lot they didn't like, I'm sure support for the current president is solid.
Most of the gentle souls at the vigil want the troops out of Iraq yesterday. I cannnot pretend to be a pacifist; I was there as a person in favor of occasional violence, but against the management of the war in Iraq. They let me hang out with them anyway. (I try to avoid the political "Spanish disease" of being too particular to make common cause with people who share some, but not all, of my beliefs. "Hold your nose and vote fer the Democrat," because the alternative will be more Bushites elected by default. Somebody kick Nader one more time.)
I seem to recall someone saying to the president, "If You Break it, You Own It". I am offering the following slogan to all: "Bush Broke It, We Bought It, Let's Fix It". It lacks nuance, but this is a crowd that doesn't "do" nuance.
Maureen Dowd describes our unpleasant reality: "Americans can't get out, or they risk turning the country into a terrorist haven that will make the old Afghanistan look like Cipriani's. Yet his war, which has not accomplished any of its purposes, swallows ever more American lives and inflames ever more Muslim hearts as W. reads a book about the history of salt and looks forward to his biking date with Lance Armstrong on Saturday."
Bush is the best poster boy Al Quaeda ever had. Our soldiers, and the families who express their love by unquestioning loyalty, will be slow to recognize this. "To die for love is one thing; but to die for nonsense is the Very Devil."
In the same issue, Bob Herbert wonders Whose War Is This, Anyway:
"If Mr. Bush were willing to do something he has refused to do so far - speak plainly and honestly to the American people about this war - he might be able to explain why U.S. troops should continue with an effort that is, in large part at least, benefiting Iraqi factions that are murderous, corrupt and terminally hostile to women. If by some chance he could make that case, the next appropriate step would be to ask all Americans to do their part for the war effort.... College kids in the U.S. are playing video games and looking forward to frat parties while their less fortunate peers are rattling around like moving targets in Baghdad and Mosul, trying to dodge improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.... If the war in Iraq is worth fighting - if it's a noble venture, as the hawks insist it is - then it's worth fighting with the children of the privileged classes. They should be added to the combat mix. If it's not worth their blood, then we should bring the other troops home."
My students-- "9/11 babies", I'm calling them in my head-- went in to fight terrorism, not to make a breeding ground for more terrorists. They are being badly used.
The right is working overtime to turn this into a referendum on the character of Cindy Sheehan; this is because they cannot defend Bush's conduct of the war. We want a better war from our leaders; I would settle for more honesty.