Back in the sixties, and even up through today, it was and is very common to walk into the house of a black family and see a picture of Martin Luther King on the wall... right next to Jesus. This is a stark reminder of a sad time in America's history.
The early sixties was a turbulent time. The beginning of the twenty-first century is no less turbulent. Our country is no less divided now than it was then. If possible, it's worse. Politics and the media have succeeded in driving a wedge between us and making us forget something that we all swore in September of 2001, that we would never forget.
George W. Bush has taken a lot of heat over his 'with us or against us' policy. Well, I'm sorry, but I grew up in Texas, and maybe that's why that particular part of his speech made perfect sense to me. Basically what that statement means to me, is that we must stick together. At all costs. To me that means, if you don't support your country, then you weaken it. You may have to read between the lines, and you may have to speak 'Texan' to get it, but I got it.
As far as I'm concerned, and despite the fact that many don't agree with this war or why it was started, choosing to pick apart our government and bad mouth our country is no better than terrorism. On our own soil. A betrayal. Dividing and conquering from within. To what end?
Our own demise as a strong, democratic country.
It makes me sick to see this betrayal happen on our air waves, under the right given these 'nay-sayers' by the freedom of speech that men in our history died to put in place. How ironic is that?
Unfortunately, in the world of politics, it is no-holds barred. While many say that George Bush used the war on terrorism as an 'excuse' to invade Iraq, there are just as many out there right now using the Attack on Iraq as an 'excuse' to further their political careers, so in my opinion everything said or done against our current president must be taken with a grain of salt in this election year.
Many people will argue that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with nine one one. That may very well be true. I for one find it difficult to believe that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, despite their relative dislike of each other, did not have one very strong point in common. The even more powerful hatred of the United States. I will never be convinced that the attack on the World Trade Center, was not only applauded, and encouraged, but most likely supported by Saddam Hussein in some way. I will never be convinced that there are no weapons of mass destruction. There was too much time allowed to cover up and relocate anything incriminating, and the very act of putting our military on Iraqi soil may have diverted plans for further attacks.
Some will say that we struck out blindly. That we hit the first available target out of retribution, that Saddam Hussein was our scapegoat. You know what? I don't care. Why? Because it sends a message across the world that we will not allow these heinous acts to occur on our soil. That there will be repercussions. Osama Bin Laden had to use our resources to perpetrate his attack. An action that some view as brilliant evil. Well, evil minds think alike, and what better time to act than on the heels of such a devastating attack on our country. It is my firm opinion that had the attack on Iraq not occurred, that we all may be singing a very different tune right now.
I move that everyone who has not done so already, go out and purchase a piece of art of some kind. Something that is reminiscent of 9/11 and hang it on the wall, or place it on a table...somewhere so that you may see it everyday as you enter or leave your home.
I'm not talking about a flag, or a statue of a firefighter or policeman covered in ash. No. It needs to be something much more graphic. Perhaps a photo of one of the victims that fell to their deaths from the towers. Arms extended, vainly thinking that they could catch themselves. Someone's loved one, that was simply going about their business on that fateful day and died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters. Gone forever, due to a fanatical religious element of the world population.
Where goes fanaticism, goes danger. George said it. "If you're not with us, you're against us." He has been condemned for saying that. Well, excuse me, but dying for not believing in a certain religion is simply a less subtle way of making the same point, and frankly, fighting fire with fire is a proven and effective battle technique. We all need to become fanatics in our own right. Fanatically patriotic. Fanatically loyal. Fanatical Americans who stand together, united against terrorism whether it occurs on our land or simply in our world.
I'm not suggesting that a portrait of Geroge Bush should be hung on your wall...right next to Jesus. But regardless of your political stance, one thing will always remain the same. Our country must be united. Our soldiers, despite the ugly face of war, and what may be viewed as atrocities committed by them, must be supported. There are a few bad apples in every cart, that does not mean that the entire load is bad. That's the kind of 'general thinking' that caused the devastation of September eleventh.
No matter how long it takes, no matter how ugly it gets, no matter how much it hurts, we will put a democracy in place in Iraq. We will help these people achieve a better life, a better way of life. Nobody ever said it was going to be pretty, or that it was going to happen fast, or that there wouldn't be set backs. The underlying truth is, the most effective way to cut an enemy off at the knees is to appeal to his army. To offer them a better way, a more peaceful existence. Eventually, this will happen. The people of Iraq will experience freedoms the likes of which they have never dreamed possible. Then and only then will it all have been worth it, because if they're not with us...they're against us.