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Vote for Peace

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Message Missy Beattie
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My brother Mark lives in red-state America. He lost his youngest son in Iraq on August 6, 2005 and most people know what he thinks about George Bush. He didn't vote for him in 2000 and disliked him even more by '04. When his son joined the Marines, Mark couldn't sleep. The day Chase deployed to Iraq, my brother cried all night.

Mark was bombarded with e-mails from friends who supported Bush Inc. and his "tough leadership." Forwarding them to me, he'd later call and we'd talk about the president's garbling of the English language and why people would think he was intelligent enough to lead our nation. We discussed the economy and what George had done to lower and middle income workers who'd still vote for him because, "He's like I am." Or, "He's someone who'd sit down and have a beer with me." And, "He's anti-abortion and anti-gay rights." It didn't matter how much these people lost in benefits at work or had to pay in increases at the pumps, they believed the president was one of them and not the Ivy League-educated man who refers to his base as "the elite."

After Chase died, Mark didn't receive any e-mails promoting Bush. One friend even changed his political opinion as a direct result of my nephew's death.

A businessman with many talents, my brother performs magic shows for children's parties and for adults. He's very much the showman. He loves mingling with people and on weekends, has a booth at a flea market where he sells fudge. In this booth, he has a picture of Chase. Friends and acquaintances stop by to tell him how sorry they are about his son.

"Yeah, I voted for Bush the first time, but not the second," one just said. This is a man who's in his forties and will deploy for Iraq soon.

So many of these friends who linger to chat with my brother tell him that we never should have invaded Iraq. At first, I was encouraged to hear this--pleased that my home state might be losing its scarlet letter.

But no.

You see, this is what follows: "We should just nuke the whole damn place."

Another said: "Nuke 'em all and let God sort 'em out."

And this: "Give 'em 24 hours to leave and, then, level the place with a nuclear weapon. When the dust clears, we'll go in and plant an American flag and call it another United States of American state."

My husband wasn't surprised when I told him this. "I heard similar statements from people at work in reaction to the London subway attacks," he said. What? We live in a progressive place--NYC.

Is this the distillate of hatred? When someone strikes us, is the immediate response to attack? Does the darkness in our hearts react to protect the survival of the most powerful with no thought of all the innocent lives lost?

Bush and Cheney's continued references linking Iraq to September 11 have been masterful tools of control, however there seems to be increasing agreement that George W really hasn't dealt with the post-9/11 world competently. In a speech one month after terrorists used our airplanes as weapons against us, Bush said, "We'll smoke him (Osama bin Laden) out of his cave, and we'll get him eventually." But Osama is still making tapes while Saddam Hussein, who posed no threat to Americans, was hunted down, removed from a hole, and is now on trial, his country in chaos and occupied by a coalition led by Americans.

Recently, Bush said, "They brought the war to us." Someone needs to ask the president who "they" are. Would he have a Clintoneque moment and utter, "It depends on what your definition of the word 'they' is?" Maybe in BushPush it means Middle Easterners and/or Muslims.

This administration is spinning our world out of control by ratcheting up aggression. We have to elect candidates who are willing to say "no" to war so that we provide a secure future for our children and grandchildren. No one wants to live in the kind of fear that Bush and Cheney's legacy guarantees.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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