“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” Wise words from Winnie-the-Pooh.
Thank God the bit of fluff that’s been lodged in President Obama’s ear when it comes to Syria seems to have been dislodged, at least for the time being.
It was with a great sense of anxiety that my book group crowded onto the sofa to watch Obama’s speech on Tuesday night. Earlier, when we had been discussing an O’Henry short story, the chips and cheese had been rapidly disappearing from the bowls on the coffee table, but once Obama reached the podium, the snacking stopped and the silence fell.
Several of us had prayed and fasted through lunch the day before, along with hundreds from our church, on behalf of a peaceful solution in Syria. And it did feel like a miracle when half-way through his speech, Obama began to back away from the cliff.
My friend Shobha looked incredulous, her brown eyes wide and teary. “An answer to our prayers,” she said.
Trying to Trust
I never did trust George W. and all his war justifications. With all due respect (due being the operative word here), I think he was an idiot who was just the puppet of a bunch of neo-con war-mongers.
But I want to at least try to trust Obama; I voted for the guy. I like him personally, although I’ve been disappointed by him in many ways. I almost wanted him to persuade me of the wisdom of bombing Syria because I was so certain he was going to do it, and I didn’t want to lose all faith in his wisdom.
But I have not been persuaded; not in the least.
“Think it Over, Think it Under” (Pooh)
One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, wrote on her Facebook page September 8th:
“But isn’t this one reality–that the most fastidiously trained and learned people in the government, military, humanitarian and diplomatic fields, can’t figure out the right move — reason enough to hold off bomb strikes for the time being?”
Even my very conservative neighbor Pat, with whom I rarely agree about anything except the weather, agrees on Syria. Don’t bomb. Not now. What is the hurry? Her grandson is in the Army, somewhere in the Middle East, but he can’t tell her where.
I have only one friend who supports the bombing, and he’s one of those one-issue kind of guys. Israel is his issue, and peace is not his strategy. He might feel differently when his little boy reaches military age.
Otherwise, ambivalence is the strongest support for Obama’s position that I’ve heard.
I plan to do some volunteering this weekend. I want to serve out of the abundance of gratitude I am feeling.
I like to think it was the people who postponed this folly. That now and then, regular folks can still make a difference. Was it the yelling of Americans who are weary of their kids being killed? Was it the yelling of citizens in our allied nations (whatever *that* means these days — someone we’re not bombing?) tired of being dragged into conflict by the U.S.? Whatever it was, it shifted Obama’s ear-fluff.
I’m sure it was a complicated bit of fluff, probably comprised of ego, politics, patriotism, compassion, anger, fear — desperation might be a better word. I’ll bet he felt trapped by his own line in the sand.
I used to have a boss who said that when he could see no solution to an office politics problem, he would “just throw a grenade and let everyone run around for a while to see what happens.” I never agreed with this approach, and I never saw it turn out well. Stupid office politics; even stupider international politics. Apologies to my male readers, but I think it had something to do with testosterone.
“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit.
“No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”
And so, my fellow citizens, God bless America.
God bless Syria.
And God help us all.
A related post that conveys my thoughts in a much more intelligent way: http://woodgatesview.com/2013/09/11/on-the-anniversary-of-911-a-victory-for-clear-headed-thinking/