Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 Years of War

Five years ago my life was so completely different than it is today.  

Let's see, March of 2003:
-I was still working for the Music Company as an Educational Representative.
-I drove a Ford Explorer, which I would eventually total in a terrible car accident later that year.
-The average gas price was $1.72/gal and I thought that was high!
-I was getting ready to have thyroid surgery to remove half of my thyroid because of a nodule.
-My relationship was showing major stress fractures.
-I thought I might want to be a teacher after all, after a bad student teaching experience had convinced me that it wasn't for me.

I had no idea that I would ever be married to someone in the military.  I knew I wanted to have kids, but didn't know when.  I knew I wanted to go to grad school, but with the situation I was in- it just wasn't possible.  I had lost touch with many people who I had been friends with, and replaced them with "couple friends" (a common trap of young people in relationships).

And a war began.
My everyday life really didn't change because of the war, but many changes happened in my life anyway.  The war was just something that was talked about on TV, or mentioned off-hand when people were talking about politics.

And somehow five years later we are still in this war.  Even after the President stood on an aircraft carrier in May 2003 and declared an "End to major combat".  I'm sure he kicks himself for ever saying that, and wishes he knew then what he knows now.  Well don't we all.

It's no secret I'm a liberal, and I have no problem talking about my feelings about the past 8 years and what it has done to our economy, our schools (I'll have to talk about NCLB another time), and our morale as a country.  We are a country more divided than I've ever known.  But I recognize that it is not ONE PERSON's fault.  

People who vilify President Bush and call him an idiot and evil and all those other ignorant comments must not understand how our government works.  Our country was created with Legislative, Judicial, and Executive that one person could not rule over everything like a monarch.  Yes the President is the Commander in Chief, and with that position come certain Executive Powers.  But, I think if you really stop and think, you will see that our situation cannot be blamed on one person.  First of all, if he was an idiot he never could have become President.  We have no idea the amount of stress the man has on him every moment of day and night.  He has advisors who collect information and present it to him, he has a Cabinet who all have parts of the government to run, he has other countries who need attention and action from us, he has a Congress who is so divided among partisan lines that it is extremely difficult to get legislation pushed through-and somehow he has a family (which I'm sure gets the short end of the stick most of the time). 

This reminds me of how I caught flack one time for saying I was sad when they hanged (yes grammatically that is correct) Saddam Hussein.  People went off on me saying he was so evil, and he tortured all those people, and he deserved to have a long painful death, etc.  None of that I argue with- but I still felt sad when he died.  Because- he was a human being.  He was someone's child.  I don't believe the moment he was born that he was evil, I think he was  a product of his environment.  And what made me sad was what happened to that man to make him become that way, and do all the things he did.  If only it could have been changed before it ever happened.  So, when he was hanged it was a terrible end to a terrible life, and I'm ALLOWED to feel sorry for the man.

 I am NOT a Bush fan at all, but think many people can't see the forest for the trees- and just want someone to blame.  Well, start with yourself for not doing something to change things.  Then blame your community for all following blindly like sheep- most don't even go VOTE for crying out loud.  Then blame your local elected officials for being corrupt and bending to special interests and constantly going over budget.  Then blame your parents (I don't know...people always blame their parents for something!  Ha!).  Then blame your schools for not better educating the people who became leaders.  Then blame your kids (I'm sure at some point it WILL be their fault too).  Then blame the media for never presenting the story the way it is.

Don't you see- blaming does NOTHING.  It might feel good in the short term, but it's like rocking in a rocking chair.  It uses a lot of energy- but you never get anywhere.  I also find it interesting that many of the most outspoken people I've met who are against the war and against the President- their daily life has not changed much because of the war.  Unless you count the pain in their wallet from filling up their SUV.  And the things they say sound like sound bytes off of CNN or Fox News, rather than their own ideas.

My husband just got word that his deployment schedule has been bumped up- without giving specifics it means he'll be gone for at least part of a year every year.  We knew this was a possibility when he joined the AF.  So- I'm not going to BLAME anyone.

Now- off of soapbox.

Things I want to remember to talk about in the future:
No Child Left Behind
Study Abroad
Moms vs. Moms
The Business of Being Born


Em said...

Good one Mary! I do tend to Blame Pres. Bush for a lot of what's wrong with the country... but I know he didn't do it all on his own, and I don't know what choices I would make if I were in his position, so I guess it's not fair really. I'll tell you one thing though - I am am ready for some real changes to be made for our citizens in the next few years!

JaclynJohnson said...

Well said, Mary!

Rocketgirl said...

Fabulous post!! I love your insight and your ability to have compassion despite al the anger surrounding everything. And honestly, as much as Bush has done/not done, I always remind myself 2 things; 1. mostly, it was Cheney anyway, and 2. Cheney shot someone in the face. As horrible as number 2 is, it's good for an irreverent giggle. I mean seriously?!?!
And NCLB... can't wait for that post. But I have to step back and say it was bipartisan... they all thought it was a good idea. Doofuses.