Saturday, August 4, 2007

A peace vigil

I think that these guys probably would not recognize Steven Colbert as a comedy. They also need to work on sounding a little more informed, maybe someone should explain, for example, that Russia is no longer a communist country and the cold war is over. And I'm not quite sure about the duck. The guy is screaming and telling us that we are the worst sort of traitors, that we will be wearing burkas, and that we don't deserve to live here if we disagree with the war. There was also some really incoherent stuff, where he would say "Allah bababa, la la baba," or similar (my best effort at "translating" ) and then say you (the peace vigil) understand that Arabic because you are terrorists. There was lots more in this vein, some of it quite vicious, but I tuned most of that out.

the following may also be a letter to the editor of the local paper (or not) what are your thoughts?

After reading the article about the Eagles, who according to their spokesperson, appreciates “the negative side” in politics, I decided to attend the peace vigil last Friday (8/3). I have been admiring the grace and fortitude that these local, peaceful, protestors have shown over the past weeks. Their mission of support the troops, end the war seems to be one that no one could disagree with. Indeed the mission of support the troops is also the stated aim of the Eagles group.

While sitting with the peace vigil I though how ridiculous it was that here were two opposing groups with the same “support the troops” philosophy on opposing sides of the street, one keeping silent vigil, the other screaming mostly nonsensical or insulting rhetoric or mouthing slogans lifted from conservative talk radio. How ironic that the freedom of speech that both groups value so highly creates such a response. However, there were times when I just had to laugh; the rhetoric was so over the top, it was impossible to take seriously. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the police presence. All in all the peace vigil participants had a more tranquil experience; bearing silent witness is easier on the vocal cords and blood pressure than screaming.

I had expected to feel anger for the Eagles, but instead, I felt sadness and pity. How uncomfortable it must to live with all that negative, angry emotion. I can understand perhaps how enraged some Vietnam vets in the group might be if they had the idea that somehow if one protests the war, one does not support the troops. I remember how abysmally and unfairly the Vietnam vets were treated when they came home. How horrible it must have been for them to be reviled simply for being a soldier in that war, and often a recruit called up by the draft, unlike today’s volunteer army. I suspect that being treated the way that Vietnam vets were all too often treated, would engender at the very least emotional scars that will never heal. To treat a returning soldier as all too often the Vietnam vets were treated is as shameful and inexcusable as the current administration’s mistreatment of wounded Iraq war veterans by not providing adequate or quality care.

The only positive thing to come out of this senseless war is perhaps the only lesson that we seemed to have learned from Vietnam. The lesson is that you may disagree vehemently with the mission and consider the war a disastrous failure on so many levels, but that you never, ever disrespect the men and women in our armed forces who soldier bravely on. The respect and support of the troops is something that I believe all Americans share, no matter what side of the street we happen to be on.

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