Despite what the liberal press will have you believe, conservatives are not pro war and anti peace. More accurately, many conservatives believe that the best way to obtain peace in some rare instances is via war.
When I hear anti-war liberals carrying that infamous symbol of peace, and shunning every time a conservative politician is mentioned because, "those guys don't want peace," I shutter. I shutter because we conservatives do to want peace, we just sometimes believe in a different strategy to obtaining peace.
My dad and I have had this discussion just this past winter as we were both sitting on the back porch of his Florida home. We reminisced about how wonderful our lives are, and how wonderful it is to simply sit here and enjoy the warm, refreshing breeze. Because of the sacrifices of our fathers, we able to enjoy many moments in our lives that even our grandpa couldn't have even dreamed of.
Dad is retired and lives the life. He gets up in the morning and golfs for a living every day, and then he has happy hour amongst his wife and all his friends (and family if one of us kids is visiting), and then has dinner and goes to bed only to do it all the next day. Every day is not unlike the one before. "And I'm happy," he tells me often.
I tell him how happy I am. How wonderful my life is. How stress free my life is except for a few rare occasions when work gets busy, or shit happens, I have it made. I'm not rich by no means, as ever was my father, but I have my priorities straight. And I'm frugal with my money. And I smell the roses often, as per that old classic poem.
Life is great. However, I am aware it wasn't always this great. I've heard stories of how my great-great grandfather had to travel across the state by wagon pulled by oxen to Shoreline with his family because he knew he could find work here. These men back then were farmers who lived off the land, built their own homes, and pretty much made everything that went into that home. Those people worked hard from sun up to sun down. There was hardly time to smell the roses.
So here dad and I were, enjoying that refreshing breeze. I was on vacation, away from my job as an RT, which isn't really stressful at all except for on occasion. Heck, I'm blogging right now from work. What a job this is, hey. This is the reason our great grandparents worked so hard, sacrificed, knowing that they would have little time to actually enjoy what they were working/fighting for. Now we get to enjoy often what they gave us.
We don't have wars often. And dad told me that he thought war was stupid. I agreed. He said that life is so precious and so fun and enjoyable, that he just can't understand how people could want to take it from other people, let alone themselves. I agreed. He said it's stupid that people fight over religion. I agreed. He said it is stupid that people fight over land. I agreed. He said it is stupid that people can't just shake hands and get along; to stop and smell the roses.
"To be honest with you," my dad said, "While I have a preference who runs our country, all that really matters is that they don't take this away from me." He was referring to his ability to enjoy life; to be happy. And this perhaps explains why I never saw him sweat it at election time. "As long as they don't take this away from me, I'll be happy."
However, we both decided that sometimes war is a necessary bad. You have people out there who don't appreciate life the way we do, and we need someone to protect us from those thugs. It is not our fault that they are trained from birth to destroy people who don't agree with their politics or religion, but we sometimes have to feel the brunt. That is what happened on 9-11.
We were so relaxed on that day, so busy smelling the roses, that we turned a blind eye to those who wished to kill us. In fact, my eyes were so blind I didn't even know what a Muslim was until 9-11, let alone that there were radical Muslims who wanted to kill every last one of us because we are not Muslim, or because we backed Israel. "How stupid," I thought when I found this out. "How stupid."
I hoped and prayed that we didn't have to go to war with them, as all good Americans did -- even conservatives. We do not want to see our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers injured or killed by another stupid war. But we can't be wusses. When there are no other choices, war sometimes is the only option; the only way to change the minds of thugs. However regretful it is to say that, it is true.
A coworker of mine said one day after I arrived at work that she thinks that we have it made so easy here in the U.S., that we have seen so few bad things in our lifetimes, that we have forgotten how to fight. And, she said, that even if a man like Hitler were to rise again, she wondered if we'd have the will or the desire to rid the world of him.
I'm not sure I feel the same way necessarily, but I see what she means. I see it every day when I hear people in Washington belittling the war effort, and everything our troops over in Iraq are trying to accomplish. I think that my friend is right, that many of us Americans have become wusses. I'm not just talking about democrats, but many republicans too. We have lost our nerve to fight when the need arises. Sometimes we even forget how to be vigilant.
I just want my fellow readers to know that I am not pro war, anti peace. We conservatives (or whatever the heck we are) do not want war like every other good person does not want war. However, sometimes the thugs leave us no choice but to go to war with them -- unfortunately.
My point is that conservatives hate war and want peace just like all the rest of the good people of this country, but we are also not willing to turn a blind eye to to those who wish to take away what our fathers, our forefathers, worked so hard to obtain. We do not choose to take it for granted.
We have not forgotten that our history was shaped by war, and that war is something that we need to at least consider in certain situations. Sometimes just the idea of maintaining a valiant military, or of building up arms, is a good enough method of deterring others from messing with us. Sometimes, though, we need to strike. We hope those instances are far and few between, but we need to be prepared and willing just in case the need arrives.
So, when I see that infamous symbol of peace carried around by the anti-war crowd, I tend to think along the lines of, "I want peace too."