In case you didn't know, sleepy Isla Vista has a long history of anti-war sentiment. Back during the Vietnam war the hatred grew so violent that I.V. literally became a tinderbox of anger and vitriol against everything about "The Establishment." If you don't believe me then refer to this old Time's article from when they burnt the Bank of America because they thought the bank was responsible for raising rent prices. A few weeks ago another big anti-war rally was held at UCSB in which several arrests had to be made because the "Peaceful Anti War" crowd got violent in order to get their point across. Not to mention the four thousand+ of dollars of damage they caused to University property in vandalism and graffiti.
Just this Saturday, Jodi and I went downtown to visit the farmer's market. We enjoyed some delicious foccacia bread and mandarines and then went to check out surfboards downtown on state street. To our surprise we saw police cars all over, the street filled with some sort of crazy parade, screaming people, banging drums and general pandemonium. Soon after we parked we found the protest marchers with their predictable signs of "Impeach Bush!" or "Bush lied, people died!" Here's a video we took.
I can't help but think how easy it is to Monday morning quarterback this whole thing. I mean, at the time when we went to war almost everybody agreed it was the thing to do, even Clinton and 85 other nutcase Democrats, and voted for it. My intention isn't to point out exact evidences, we know Iraq had WMD's, even if they only found ones of the biological variety. My point is that it's so easy to sit back and complain. It's easy to protest and follow what is popular. It's easy to say it's not our problem. It's easy to pretend things weren't that bad, that they would've taken care of themselves. It's hard to take a stand and call evil for what it is and then stand up to it. This isn't the first time America has had to do something unpopular by stepping in to do what's right. Lest we forget, the second World War was not exactly popular. People didn't really believe that Hitler would go and do the things he claimed he would in his book. Europe was Europe's problem. It took something as tragic as Pearl Harbor to motivate our country to get involved. This selfish, apathetic attitude of letting bad things happen so long as it stays away from home is repugnant.
Thank goodness for leaders who are willing to sacrifice popularity and perhaps even their careers to do what they really believe is right. Thank God for the heroic soldiers who go and fight for the mission which they were sent on regardless of how they are treated back at home and abroad. My dad was in the military and ultimately died due to injuries sustained during his service and now I have three brothers-in-law who are actively serving their country. Justin Hansen in the Marine Corps, Jeremy Zaugg in the Marine Corps and Army, and Chaplain Brandon Harding in the National Guard and Navy. Our count may be a little off, but between the 3 of them we think they've been deployed overseas at least 7 or 8 times that me and Jodi can recall. As Jeremy gets ready to leave again for Afghanistan for a whole year this time right as he finds out that his wife is pregnant I'm so grateful I don't know how to express it. That he would sacrifice being there for the birth of his child to offer his service for a country which doesn't appreciate it is hard to believe.
Jodi's brother-in-law Brandon, a Chaplain with the Marine Corps, related a particularly ugly incident about deplorable treatment in Oakland by our own country upon returning from active duty. The story has become widely circulated and can be found on many sites, you can read the actual account by going here.
I'm thankful for heroes whose sacrifice makes it possible for the ungrateful hippies to have the free speech and rights they rely on when they get to go bang on a drum and hold up a sign saying "Get OUT of Iraq," I'm thankful for people who are willing to go and do what's right even when it's not popular.