I’ve tried not to be too critical of the peace protesters over the past several days, but they’re really starting to make it difficult not to. On the one hand I think the way we went into this war was wrong and on the other I do think there were some valid reasons to do so. I realize how wishy-washy that makes me sound, but I’m not overly concerned about that at the moment.
The truth is I don’t really want to be associated with either side of the debate at this point. To say that I’m pro-peace causes others to lump me in with all the media reports of peace protesters who are anything but peaceful and, in some cases, outright loony. To say that I am pro-war lumps me in with a group that has a tendency to be overly self-righteous in their stance and unnecessarily caustic. Both sides have people who have shown an incredible ability to be clueless about the issues.
So if I’m not exactly pro-peace and I’m not exactly pro-war, what does that make me? The whole “us or them” attitude that so many people are taking these days really bothers me. I just don’t see the world in stark black and white terms and I have a hard time understanding people who do.
I’ve been accused by people of being unpatriotic because I’m not 100% gung-ho about our government’s actions and I question the motives behind it. The irony is that at least one of the people calling me unpatriotic is someone I know has bitched about being called up for jury duty and has tried to get out of it. To me, doing jury duty when called upon is a perfect example of being patriotic. Not putting a little American flag on your car.
Someone has already noticed the yellow ribbon I put on my page and accused me of “switching sides” and going pro-war. Exactly why I’ve resisted putting it up until now. I’m pro-our-soldiers-coming-home-as-soon-as-possible-with-as-much-of-their-bodies-intact-as-possible. I’m pro-letting-them-know-I-care. Regardless of what my concerns are over how we got into this mess, I do appreciate what our men and women over there are doing and the sacrifices they may be called upon to make.
A note to the war-protesters: You’re not doing your cause any good when you resort to violence, vandalism and other acts that are just plain stupid (like blocking traffic). Study the history of non-violent protest and you’ll see that the tactics you’re using will end up breeding resentment instead of sympathy. Your goal is to build support for your views, not convince people you’re a bunch of loonies who forgot to take their medication this morning.
A note to the war-supporters: We all realize that a lot of people have fought and died in wars of the past so that Americans can enjoy the freedom they currently have including the freedom to protest a war they don’t agree with. Try to recognize the hypocrisy involved in pointing that out to the protesters and then telling them to shut the hell up. Consider that the wars of the past to secure those freedoms are not the same as this war being protested now. Consider also the possibility that not everyone who is against this war is necessarily pro-Saddam Hussein. It is possible to be opposed to a method to reach a goal without being opposed to the goal itself. The ends do not always justify the means.