Thursday, August 11, 2005

Firey Coals

A commenter (Chris Hanson) on Confederate Yankee asks of the supporters of Cindy Sheehan:

"...what happened to your moral compass?"
This is becoming depressing for me. It was fine, for awhile, just to be on the "right side of history," but as these events have progressed and the original issues about the war have receded-- the stakes in Iraq becoming clearer and more obvious with each passing day--the manner in which the Left has chosen to destroy itself for what a friend of mine appropriately calls a "lust for peace" has surpassed any conception of foolishness that I might have thought possible. The spectacle of this mother placing her grief at the feet of such a self-destructive and destructively inclined movement isn't really resolved by any sort of anger I can manage to whip up against her. It's just plain sad, and sad in a way that transcends the sadness anyone must feel about the death of any individual (including a loved one). It's the sadness of discovering that good intentions not only don't equate to good judgment, but can easily transform into very very bad, even vicious, intentions. Why are we pulling apart, instead of together?

I read the other day about James Wolcott complaining that people like Roger L. Simon have "betrayed the Left" in their support for the war, but to me it seems precisely the opposite. For whatever moral legitimacy I had once ceded to the Left for the sake of its intention to support the misfortunate, or to serve as a brake on unfairness and selfishness, has been replaced by moral and political skepticism. And I don't imagine I'm alone. How could any movement that claims to take such ideals seriously, so seriously and wilfully betray them? How could any movement willing not just to argue for, but to insist on, the moral equivalence between Camp X-Ray and Auschwitz, or who reserves any esteem for our own generation's "Lord Haw Haw", or any one of a dozen or so similar travesties I could recall were I so inclined, ever again be entrusted with the public good? As Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger asked recently: Why do you so hate the poor? This is a cataclysm. If you don't see that, you're not paying attention.

And just to put the final touch on what has to be yet another disillusioned flower child's naked lunch, it seems to me that George Bush's response to this crowd surging to press Mrs. Sheehan's grief in his face like a cream pie (while her own family recoils in shame) has simply and unambiguously canceled a wave of hatred... with generosity, tolerance and understanding. Which, frankly, makes me feel a little more optimistic about the long term.


As a youth I left home and family behind
And joined up with a warrior clan
A rite of passage to becoming a man
The bridge between youth and adult I sought to span
Tempting fate through the rigors of a war's deadly grind

Sojurned across the sea with a band of hardy fellows
Strangers we were in a strange and deadly land
Delivered there by fate's uncompromising hand
Customs and tongues of the country an alien brand
Firey coals of deception fanned by a war's great bellows

A cultural clash putting us in a bind
Who was the foe
Was ever hard to know
Mistrust in our hearts did grow
No clear cut lines left us flying blind

Strangers we were in a strange land
Amidst a culture where life had little value
Where e'en the children were sacrificed on cue
Hatred within the mind was stirred like simmering stew
A culture so alien I couldn't understand

But I did my duty, served my tour
Then hung around for a little more
Not seeing the changes taking place at the core
Tripped on the threshold falling flat on my face upon the floor
Thence came the day I was ushered out the door

Returning home I found the land had changed
'Twas not the simple land of my father's but one of chaos
Strident voices and harsh words honed a keen sense of loss
Nerves now raw, trust was a coin toss
With former friends I was now estranged

Yea though I was home, the homeland was gone
All around I heard the littany of criticism and reprimand
The chanting crowds, their phrases canned
A firey wrath in my soul was fanned
Still a stranger in a strange and unfamiliar land
In my mind, for the homeland, I travel ever on

Roger D. (Hoagie) Hogan
(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)