the thin red line

This is worth a re-read, or a first read.

What Should Obama Do About Syria?” by Dexter Filkins for The New Yorker.

Our nation is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. Our children are hearing “I have a dream” repeatedly on NPR. They hear our President’s voice, they recognize it, they admire him and are proud that I worked for him as a volunteer on his first presidential campaign.

I cold-called undecided voters back in 2008. I spoke at length (for a cold-call) with a grandmother in my county, a registered Republican whose grandson was serving in Iraq. She was angry. She wanted her grandson home, and Senator McCain’s rhetoric worried her.

I told her then that I understood. That the reason I backed Obama from the start was because, solely because of, his reasoning on Iraq. His opposition to the war, since early October of 2002, was something I remembered. To me, it reflected measured judgment. Prudence. Caution. He was the kind of Democrat I liked. The kind of anybody I like, actually.

That grandmother told me that I was the most reasonable sounding person to call her that election season. She told me she would vote for Obama.

I wonder what she’s thinking now.

I know what is said in public — on a campaign trail, in a speech — means very little when it comes to having actual information in your hand, details unavailable to the rest of us. I know that the President, no matter who he (and someday she) is, will do things that surprise, disappoint…

I want desperately not to be disappointed in the coming days. I have a sad feeling that I will be.

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

Could those lines apply to one nation protesting the actions of another nation?

I think they should.

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