In the Middle of the Night

I guess I must admit that I am a political junkie. It’s after 3 am, and I am still listening to the election coverage. It’s a dark night for me, because I really believe this President is not the best leader for our times. I mistrust the people who surround him.

On the other hand, I do feel that the election is won, even if there are electoral squabbles still to come. I dearly wish that the Kerry campaign would just concede graciously and gracefully. But I am also deeply troubled. I just finished reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog, in which he writes of the need to finish fighting this war and finish it successfully. I think I said some similar words myself when we went to Iraq in early 2003. I objected to the reasoning for going, but I surely hoped we would do our work and get out if we had to go.

This morning, I worry about what it will take to prosecute this war successfully, in terms of time and people. How much longer will the mom of 4 in my congregation wait for her husband, a National Guardsman, to return from deployment in Kuwait? How much longer will I see my son safely ensconced at his fine university? And can it be right for my boy to be safe while her husband is in harm’s way? Who is more needed at home?

I grew up in a politically moderate family, which in Tidewater Virginia in the 1960’s meant that we believed the schools ought to be integrated, but that we also carefully hung the flag in front of our house each morning and just as carefully took it in each night. I find myself agreeing with Charles Rangel’s ideas about the draft, even though it would put my own sons at risk. I cannot agree, for instance, with Nina Utne (of The Utne Reader), mom of my son’s college roommate, who wrote earlier this year about sending her son to safety in Sweden. Although I believe this is not a just war, I cannot make the case that other people’s sons and daughters are more appropriate cannon fodder than mine simply because they are not as economically or educationally advantaged. I cannot make it.

My faith stance, in favor of peace, and my patriotic stance, that we are all in this together as Americans, whatever “this” may be, are at war within me.