"What a FOOLISH President!" She says. I drive her to church for worship each week and to choir practice on Wednesday night. She is still grasping the sad fact that her driving is just not what it used to be. "Getting into that war in Iraq. All those young people dying, and for what? For nothing." She purses her lips. We ride in silence for a few seconds. "Doesn't he know? War never solves anything!"
She is such a sweet lady, and she is my friend. I just can't bear to ask if defeating the Nazis or ending slavery might count as something.
It's not that the same thing hasn't happened to most everyone, I suppose.
40 years ago, a friend told me how he had tried to follow the issues and had considered the war, poverty, discrimination, and the national interest. His heart was in the right place. He was not so much voting for Humphrey as against Nixon. "You can't trust him," he said. "His eyes are too close together." Oh yeah, the eyes. I'd never thought of that.
I have to confess having developed a sort of apathy at arguments from the other side that are ... well ... off the wall. I've grown to expect them. Oh, you know who I mean. We've all met folks from the Obama-is-a-Muslim crowd: the inquiring minds who want to know, who watch FoxNews, who think The X-Files is a documentary. But I still have a special sort of guilty heartburn for the unusual reasoning that sometimes gets folks to agree with me. Idiocy should be reserved as the exclusive dwelling place of conservatives.
Ted Turner once revealed how he had come down on the side of women's reproductive rights. He had been having dinner with his guest, who happened to be Reverend Jerry Falwell, and it occurred to him that he could prove to the good pastor that life definitely does NOT begin at conception. So he asked Falwell a simple question: "Have you ever heard of a funeral for an aborted fetus?" As he recounted it, he ended with this: "And Reverend Falwell had no answer!"
Well, I guess not.
For years after seeing that, I was doomed at every discussion about prolife versus prochoice to see at least a brief flash of Jerry Falwell, mouth open, fork in hand, frozen in astonishment, staring at the triumphant owner of a major independent network. And there he stayed for years, suspended in my mushy liberal brain, until finally laid to rest by the shear force of time.
May he rest in peace.
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