In fifth grade, I was the biggest kid on the playground. Away from the view of the playground aids, I stumbled upon two sixth graders twisting the arms of one of my 10-year-old classmates. They laughed as they twisted his arms between them. Bob screamed for them to stop, tears streaming down his face. I walked up and flatly said, "Leave him alone." I towered a good few inches over these two aggressors, so they dropped Bob's arms and lumbered away mumbling about revenge.
We see injustice all around us everyday: Powerful tyrants oppressing their people. Crime bosses who will do anything to protect their selfish exploits. Politicians or Wall Streeters lining their pockets at the expense of innocent constituents or clients. Most of the time, we grimace and turn our heads.
Are you tired of turning your head when you see injustice?
Today is different. We Americans have the opportunity to weigh in on this challenge. As Syrian forces reportedly drop poison rain on their own people, killing hundreds, including many children, international law has apparently been violated. (Evidence presented here by CNN).
A year ago, President Obama acknowledged that using chemical weapons crosses a red line. This line was established globally by the Geneva Protocol, which the U.S. signed onto in 1975. These are the rules of the playground. The president now asked Congress for authorization of a limited military response in Syria. He has invited all Americans to participate in this decision. I applaud the president for consulting with Congress. Any act of war should require consultation with the representatives of the American people. I also believe the president should honor the decision of Congress.
Personally, I'm contacting Senator Bob Casey, Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Pat Meehan to encourage them to back our president on this one. We need to send a message to the bullies of the world that there ARE lines that should not be crossed. We need to stand up for the victims, because we are the United States of America. Sometimes the big kid on the playground has to do the right thing.
I know this is a hard case. There are a lot of bad eggs in the Syrian opposition. We are tired of war. Violence begets violence. All that said, there is always a reason NOT to get involved. Let's get involved for the right reason. If you believe that this is an injustice to the Syrian people, then please think about where you stand on this question of U.S. military action.
The second part of my personal playground story ended when, a few minutes later, I was surrounded by six menacing sixth graders. The biggest of the bunch pushed me hard while another positioned himself behind my knees. I crashed to the ground and it turned into a full out pummeling, kicking and punch-fest. The aides broke it up after a few minutes and we all ended up in the principal's office.
Although the outcome took its toll on me, I can also tell you that Bob and the rest of the fifth grade were safe from sixth grade torment the remainder of the year. I am proud that I had the courage to take a stand that day. Today Americans are all being asked to consider whether the U.S. should intervene when defenseless people are gassed by their own government.
Consider what the president had to say to the American public about Syria on Tuesday, listen to the rebuttals. Make a choice. Take a stand. Even if you disagree with my support of the President, make your voice heard. Next time, you might not be given the option.