It’s Too Late to Make it Right

To Doc,
What happened at VT reminded me of “the incident” a few years ago. None of us ever really talked about it, or him, after that summer. I imagine he’s in prison in WV somewhere, or in some sort of a mental institution (which is where he belonged in the first place). Strange that the military didn’t catch that before he killed someone (with a rifle he bought at Wal-Mart). And set his car on fire to fake his own death. And almost got away with it.

I was surprised that you didn’t bring it up when we talked the other day. It seemed so relevant to what has been happening. Instead our conversation was all about the war. After 3 years of just listening to you spout propaganda and tell me that you were defending me and fighting for my freedom I finally had to say something, which was hard because I knew when I finally opened my mouth it would be the last time we ever spoke.

I just couldn’t let you go on pretending that you’re doing this for us. Not now that you’re home and don’t need to keep believing the lies they’ve been feeding you just so you can get through the day. You were not “defending your country“. There’s nothing to defend it from. I’ve been asking you for 3 years to explain the threat to me and not once were you able to do so. You were not “fighting for my freedom“. More of my freedoms have been lost than gained over the course of this war, so if you want to defend freedom, you best do it here where we’re actually losing it, not in the Middle East where it was never really an issue.

It is because I love you that I cannot support this war, a war that we have already lost. It is because I still believe in what we were taught – to serve, to protect, to defend – that I have to walk away. How are you serving the people of this country by fighting a war you know nothing about for a President who wasn’t really elected in the first place? What, other than oil fields, are you protecting? If you are overseas, how, exactly, are you defending our country? And please don’t give me the “we’re fighting them there so that we don’t have to fight them here” speech that we all know is bullshit. I want your life to mean something, and if it can’t be avoided, I want your death to mean something. A person who is willing to give his life for his country is too precious to waste on just any old cause. You are worth more than that. You deserve to know what you are fighting for.

You asked me to put myself in your shoes. I didn’t do that. Instead I put my son in them. And as I imagined him standing in front of me in a soldier’s uniform, it hit me: this war and this President has robbed me of something so important, so meaningful, that once it is lost it may never be regained – my pride in my country. I am not proud of what you’ve done. I have not been proud of anything that has come out of this nation politically since President Bush got into office, and I don’t have much hope that things will be that different once he’s gone. I do not want my son to be a soldier. I barely want him to be an American. I thought of you and I looked at him and I realized – I don’t want him to be anything like you – a man who follows what he believes so blindly that he will allow and encourage others to fight and die for it, even though he cannot tell them why.

I’m glad you’re home. I’m glad you’re safe. I’m sorry that my position on the war is so distasteful to you that we can no longer be friends, especially when we’ve already lost so many to something so pointless. I have lost my faith, brother. I have lost my pride. Hope is all that remains.


1 Response to “It’s Too Late to Make it Right”

  1. 1 United We Lay
    April 27, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Todd and in Charge said…
    Very powerful, thank you.

    9:33 AM
    United We Lay said…
    It’s really hard to let go of him. He was one of my best friends for a long time. I would do anything for him, even still, but he just can’t see past my positionon this war. We don’t even really talk about it. I could be friends with him for the rest of our lives and ignore this issue when talking to him, but he’s determinied to change my mind and he doesn’t have anything to base it on.

    10:14 AM
    Laura said…
    Sorry to hear this. It’s unfortunate when issues like this break up a relationship. I often want to say such things to extended family members – and I probably will end up doing just that if they keep pushing the way you were pushed.

    Sorry it came to this.

    12:33 PM
    Three Score and Ten or more said…
    I feel so sad that your inability to understand that your opinion isn’t the only opinion that has any validity has brought you to such a point of division. Sending good thoughts. Sometimes the pain in relationships is worse than physical pain. With physical pain you can put a bandaid on or take a darvoset or an aspirin. With pain in friendships all you can really do is suffer.

    10:33 PM
    United We Lay said…
    Three score,
    Actually, it was HIS inability to see that his opinion was not the only opinion that brought us to such division. For the past 3 years I have been sitting quitely by while he spouted his propaganda. I supported him, I encouraged him, I did everything that anyone would expect tha a soldier’s family or friends would do. I didn’t talk about my opinion on the war because I didn’t want him to be distracted and questioning what he was doing when he had to take a shot at someone to save his own life. I have, however, asked a few questions. What are you doing there? Why are we at war with Iraq? He didn’t know any more than I, and I found it disturbing that someone I knew so well, and educated, intelligent man, would kill people without good reason, or ANY reason, for that matter. Remember, the Iraqis are PEOPLE too, even if they are considered the enemy.

    I have decided tha part of the reason our country is in the position it is in – violent, culturally bankrupt, physically ill, and mentally exhausted – is because friends and family members don’ttalk to each other about the important issues like religion, politics, weight loss, global warming, violence, etc… We all just bow our heads and say, “Isn’t that a shame.” That’s not the culture I want my son to grow up in, and I WILL NOT do anything to perpetuate it anymore.

    9:37 AM
    Three Score and Ten or more said…
    I wasnt clear with the “your” which was meant to be plural.(Both you and he). Communication is based on receiving messages (listening), not sending them. When all the messages seem the same one begins to tune them out, or to react to them without listening. At that point clear communication dies. I see it in politics, marriages, even in room mates. Your message to Laura really doesn’t need to be “talk to each other” (Lord, do we sometimes get tired of talking), but LISTEN to each other with some degree of empathy (learning to walk in the other guys shoes without catching his athlete’s foot).

    United We Lay said…
    Three score,
    Got it. And you’re right, listening is a huge part of the equation, but in order to listen, the subject has to be approached. In a lot of families and circles of friends, religion and politics is off the discussion table. That avoids the issues rather than taking steps towards solving them.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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