"When you vote for war, don't be surprised when you get it." --Cindy Shehan
But in later years I have looked back with appreciation for people like Cindy, whose various protests drew attention to what I now believe were lies told to the American people (& U.S. Representative Ron Paul, personally, told me that I am correct on that perception) in order to pursue wars (and OTHER policies) that could not have been pursued with public support, if the government had been honest about the real reasons they wanted to pursue them.
I have to say that Cindy's was one, within a collage of many incidents, revelations, and news items over time, that slowly broke down my personal blinders, until by Bush's second term in office, I had become so repulsed with the fear-ocious nature our government had taken on that I turned hard, in utter disillusionment, from Bush, in search of someone better to support. I determined I would never again support someone over only one issue, but if possible, would find even the most obscure person, if such was to be found, and support him or her based upon my principled convictions. My criteria were that they had to be in favor of BOTH the principle of "life" AND the principle of "liberty" (so often it was either one or the other). So imagine my surprise and delight to discover a then obscure politician being promoted by volunteers at an obviously low-low-low-budget booth at a rural county fair I dropped in on, whose actual slogan was, of all things, "Life and Liberty"! I studied Ron Paul intensely and soon threw my whole weight into promoting his liberty rEVOLution. My criteria wasn't the sell-out "electability" so many base their support of candidates on, but a criteria of pure conscience. And it felt GREAT!
And it feels great AGAIN!
To be honest with myself, I had become uncomfortable even in the earliest Bush years, following the over-reactive responses to 911, with a subtle, but growing sense of government abuse. Even during the earliest bombings and captures of presumed "bad guys" and "terrorists", and even at seeing the earliest abusive-looking Guantanamo pictures, I had felt an inner foreboding sense of the slippery slope we seemed to be sliding down in the area of human rights.
However, I always managed to dismiss the rhetoric as coming only from overzealous commentators (such as those on Fox News at the time--the Bill O'Reilly types) until the '04 Abu Graib revelations demonstrated to me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the actions, attitudes, and policies, which were pricking my OWN conscience as a citizen, could be traced all the way up the chain of command to the very highest levels of government, and we now know--because Bush BRAGS about it, when it comes to torture, that the chain originated in the oval office. Despite many many lying denials I witnessed after that time, it became clear that we had taken a profoundly sinister turn in history following 911. It still took me nearly two years, and the revelations of massive fishing expeditions of warrantless surveillance (I used to be one of those fools who told objectors, "If you've got nothing to hide, why are you worried about the government spying on you?"), as well as seeing Bush lawyers parade their hollow, Satanic, arguments for more and more draconian detention policies: torture, Extraordinary Rendition, National Security Letters, gag orders, Sneek And Peek searches, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, snooping, secret lists, replacement of "innocent until proven guilty," with official presumptions of guilt, absolute government invulnerability, state secrets, etc., and arguing to undermine even the writ of Habeas corpus (once again) before rubber-stamping congressional committees, before I finally severed my last chord ("ch" because I was very vocal in singing Bush's praises) of allegiance to the bluffer in chief.
Thank you to all of you who dared to swim against the prevailing current of the times then, and to those who are doing so now (as Obama, though somewhat less sinister, is perhaps MORE dangerous for that very reason, by promoting many of the policies initiated by Bush and company), who make us uncomfortable! Yes, thank you for making me squirm. It is the best thing that could have happened to me!