Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five years ago today

I was a lone voice. We had not been here very long and I didn't know people then like I do now, but that didn't stop me from voicing my opinion about the path we were about to pursue as a nation. I was working all the time back then in the run-up to cashing on my chips, and one of my coworkers was an Army wife - sorta. He was a full-time reservist and a recruiter, and she had never lived on base or been a part of the military culture like I had, and I had a hard time with her "Hoo-Ah" support. That was a full service public health clinic, and it was me and one of the nurse practitioners who were the sole dissenters. Everyone else thought we would just reprise the 1991 Gulf War and be done with it in short order.

"Not if they go to Baghdad and depose Hussein. That will unleash a sectarian bloodbath." I insisted, only to be pooh-poohed.

Like I said, this was in my run up to cashing in my chips, so I worked just about every waking hour. I also worked three overnight shifts a week in a hospital lab. I had a "No War on Iraq" sticker in the back window of my Ford Ranger. It was a couple of nights before the invasion got under way, and I was sitting at a red light on my way to work. Suddenly I felt something hit the back of my tiny little two-wheel-drive truck. It was a gigantic white Chevy pickup and he was trying to push me out into traffic. The light changed and I popped the clutch and jumped the yellow and got the hell away from this moron, who tailed me for a couple of blocks before speeding away - on his bumper was a sticker that read "THIS TIME ANTI WAR IS ANTI AMERICAN." I called the police and gave them his description and his tag number, but the person who took the complaint told me I should take that inflammatory sticker off my car, that was a patriotic town.

I had a first degree relative who was pulled out of Afghanistan to be sent to Iraq. About three days after the invasion I got a brutally honest email from him. I was going up on the floor to sign off a phlebotomist on her yearly competency evaluation for collecting blood bank specimens. We were talking about my relative as we waited for the elevator to take us upstairs, and she said she was surprised I didn't put his picture and information with the bunting-draped display in the hospital lobby. I just looked at her and said "He says this is the biggest steaming pile of happy horseshit he has ever seen," and her jaw dropped. "That surprises me," she said. "Everyone seems to be supportive and patriotic right now." I looked at her hard and said "Peace is patriotic, too, you know. And Iraq had nothing to do with September 11." We went on about our task and didn't speak further about it, but as this anniversary approached, I have been thinking about that exchange, and I am tempted to track her down and call her up and ask her if she remembers that exchange and what she thinks about it now.

But gradually, things began to turn around.

Now, those of us who oppose this clusterfuck are a solid majority.

I wonder if that Chevy drivin' asshole still has that bumper sticker on his truck?

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