Hopeful and disturbing signs in an unscientific neighborhood survey
Anti-War Conservatives and War-Monger Liberals
I just had two discussions with neighbors in my suburb of Philadelphia that offer both a hope that the Republican-run House may block President Obama’s war on Syria, and a warning that liberal Democrats could hand him the narrow majority he needs to claim Congressional backing for his war.
The first conversation was with a neighbor whose family is fundamentalist Christian. Each national or statewide election, they enthusiastically back, including with roadside signs on their property, the Republican candidate, including McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan.
We are friends with this family. The parents are very much do-it-yourselfers, home-schooling their three kids with the help of a religious-based home-schooling association in the area that helps organize some group activities, cutting their own firewood, raising chickens, etc. The kids are all very smart and open-minded, though both boys are attending religious colleges. But while we all get along well and like each other, we never talk politics.
That is, until yesterday, when the mother and I got onto the issue of the looming war on Syria. “This is terrible,” she said. “I thought at least that Obama was against this kind of thing. Didn’t he say he thought the war on Iraq was wrong? What’s going on?”
She wants to know what the US has to do with a civil war in Syria, and how bombing and killing Syrians is going to make anything any better in that country, or this one. And she said she thinks there are more important things to spend money on in the US, noting the terrible condition of education in neighboring Philadelphia, where class size in elementary schools is now 37, “with no teachers’ aides,” and where the school district is bankrupt.
I found myself thinking this woman sounded like me, and we parted casting shared aspersions on both political parties, which we agreed are not responding to the public’s views.
Then it was lunch with a several liberal friends. We very quickly found ourselves discussing what looks to be the next in this country’s unending string of wars, which have been a national constant at least since Pearl Harbor--and for all of our lives.
I was expecting to have a four-man rant about the insanity of a bombing attack on Syria, but was stunned when one of the men at the table, a sweet retired guy who I’m sure wouldn’t harm a fly, and who spent his life in the health care field, said, “I hope we go in and bomb Syria, and I hope we ‘take out’ Assad and his wife.”