I was out of town for a consulting conference this past week and got into a direct and terse conversation with a McCain-Palin voter. She seemed only able to spit out Limbaugh/Fox News/GOP talking points about the contributions Bush and Cheney made during their time in office. This story would be laughable if it weren’t true.
This woman lives in Virginia, not too far from Washington D.C., is in her 60’s, and continues to be fearful about the events surrounding 9/11. She believes that:
- Whatever Bush/Cheney did, it was warranted because we’ve not suffered an attack on U.S. soil since 9/11
- She doesn’t think that Bush/Cheney should be charged with war crimes
- She stated “the only reason Barack Obama was elected was because he was black”
- That Barack Obama has to be corrupt because he comes from Chicago
- That we were fully justified going into Iraq
- That Presidents no longer need a Declaration of War from Congress–that has become passe’
- She blamed Bush’s and the McCain-Palin ticket’s problems on the “main stream media”
I’d had enough. As my wife says, you don’t want to get in my cross-hairs on issues I feel strongly about. While it is uncommon to have such a discussion in the midst of 10 colleagues, I had to confront her on what I feel is complete B.S. And, I’m not sorry I did.
You see, one of the women in our group was a Captain in the Army who supported the medical mission in Iraq. She and her husband both served in Iraq concurrently. It just so happened this woman’s mother was in our group as well.
I oppose putting any American soldiers in harms way:
- Under false pretenses (WMD)
- To support nation building
- To support a police action
- For anything less than full-on military battle to win a stated objective
To commit as much money, resources, dead and wounded Americans as a result of an undeclared war is not only unconstitutional but wrong.
This woman seemed disinterested in hearing that (while we focus on the over 4,000 service men and women who have lost their lives in this conflict) about 30,000 have suffered injuries, some so catastrophic that their lives are changed forever. My sense is that she felt entitled to this benefit because it made her feel safer.
The Captain’s mother told us she had been to San Antonio to visit the troops in a rehabilitation center treating some of the most traumatic injuries. She said she went up to one person who was disfigured beyond belief including missing limbs, looked at him and said, “Thank you for your service.” His reply: “Thank you for looking me in the eyes.” We knew what she meant–his injuries were so horrific that most could not even look at him. Oh, my God. What have we done and for what?
I pointed out that America’s standing in the world increased immensely the day Barack Obama was elected. My colleague asked how our standing in the world had changed merely because of the election? She did not seem to understand that Bush/Cheney had diminished our standing in the world. How can anyone be so disconnected from reality?
She didn’t know that back when Bush was re-elected, 80% of the world’s population had wanted Bush to not be re-elected. She didn’t seem to understand that, even with an outstanding individual such as Colin Powell as Secretary of State, the U.S. forgot how to use diplomacy to explore solutions.
This woman believes that torture is okay as long as it keeps us safe. How naive!
This woman is in that 30% minority of Americans whose thoughts bewilder me beyond belief.
The key insight I got from this is that it is her personal fear that drives these beliefs. How sad for us all.
What do you think?