Thursday, May 10, 2007

The making of a conscientious objector

I originally posted this on my other blog back in January, but want to re-post it for my new readers here. After reading it last time my mother chuckled, telling me that she didn't think I was really giving R (10 years old) a balanced view of both sides; that it is obvious mine is being represented more heavily.

So be it; my view is the right one.


January 2007

This morning R came into my room as I was watching This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and started watching with me. There were no images of war, so I allowed him to stay and listen. He watched for a few minutes, left, and returned during The Chris Matthews Show, which seemed to keep his attention more.

This led to a 10 minute conversation about sending more troops to Iraq, how Bush hoodwinked the country into the war in the first place, how the Patriot Act is turning him into a dictator, whether Iraq would be better off with us forcing our view of a good government on them vs. leaving now and letting them fall into civil war, how we can get Bush out of office, and whether or not U.S. citizens can be dragged into fighting in the war if they don't want to go. He was full of intelligent questions; I was, quite frankly, surprised.

I have been wanting to start taking him to rallies, and talking to him about the realities of war, so that I can start making a Conscientious Objector file for him. I think it's really important that I start doing that soon, but I've been concerned about exposing him to the stress of war. I know for myself that keeping up on it often makes me feel powerless, and I've been concerned about how it would effect his psyche. So I've been dragging my feet on it. But today convinced me it's time to get moving. I'm going to pick up some of the age appropriate books out there about war to read with him, and maybe I'll check out what Netflix has to offer on the subject too. I'll definitely be starting to document conversations like the one we had today.

R feels that we should definitely not be sending more troops to Iraq. Especially more men than those that live in the whole town of Cheshire. He also feels that we should totally withdraw from Iraq and let the people fall into a civil war. He believes that we should not be dictating to anyone how they should run their country, and we should let the Iraqis fight for the government they want to have, themselves. He thinks that we should get rid of the Patriot Act, and that George Bush is dangerous, and we should try to get rid of him too.

I am very proud of R for seeing things the way he does. When I was answering all of his questions, I was careful to give both points of view (McCain was being interviewed on TV at the time we were speaking) to make sure he would formulate his own opinions, and not just accept mine as his own. He is a bright boy and understands how wrong war is. If anyone would actually show the realities of the war on TV, I'd probably let him watch. He is getting old enough to understand the world beyond his up-till-now small one.