Cindy Sheehan's march passed through Lynchburg, Virginia on Thursday. The gathering and rally point was a block from my office. I headed to the event with the hope of learning more about this horrible situation that faces our country. I headed to the event with the hope of coming away feeling better about our chance of ending this war. As I approached the stage, I saw two distinct groups that had gathered but were separated by barricades. Several hundred people attended the rally expressing their opposition to the war and calling for the impeachment of Bush and Chaney. The second group was made up of a couple dozen people carrying flags, holding signs saying support our troops and trying to chant loader than the Sheehan public-address system. I was a college student in the early 70's so this event was definitely a flashback to the Vietnam War protests on the Virginia Tech campus.
As I stood off to the side and listened to the two groups try to out volume each other, my thoughts turned to a simple question. Why do so many people think that you can't hate the war but still support, respect and love our troops? I can think of no greater way to support our troops than to find a way to end this war. I can think of no greater way to show your support than to bring them home soon and alive.
I am not a Bush Basher. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am an independent and I am an American. When I read that our president's approval rating is in the 30-35% range, we have a problem. When 7 out of 10 people think our country and our president have mishandled the war in Iraq, we have a problem. When around 6 or 7 out of every 10 people believe that we must create a plan to withdraw our troops from Iraq now, we have a problem.
I was never more proud to be an American than when we came together as a country after 9/11. It excited me as an American when even in the light of government challenges after Katrina, individuals stepped up like never before to help. And most recently, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, it was an honor to be an American as our country held hands and supported each other in an effort to help us all heal.
I am however, deeply saddened as an American that this war has once again divided us. I am saddened as an American that we have spent nearly $450,000,000,000 and the end result has been lost lives, unspeakable human suffering, lost opportunities to accomplish great things and loss of respect in the world. I am ready to apologize to the world for our horrible judgment. I want to feel the Proud To Be An American Feeling again. I want to spend the next $450,000,000,000 eliminating human suffering in America and the world. Enough is enough! I pray for our troops, I honor our troops, I respect our troops, I support our troops and I love our troops, but I hate this war.