Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Letter from the Front

My Darling,
The war is not going well for us. I don't know what you are reading in the papers, but out here, we begin to doubt we can win this thing. Casualties are mounting on our side, and the enemy shows no sign of giving in. We are fighting for a free and democratic society, but for them, it is a holy war.

We started with such high hopes, with a strong belief that we were in the right, but that is nothing compared to the fanaticism we face on the other side. As an American, I believe in freedom, in a pluralistic society, where everyone has the right to pursue their own beliefs, but our foe is not troubled or compromised by such thoughts. They believe they are carrying out God's will, and that we are Satan, or at least we are advancing the cause of Satan with our decadent culture.

We think we want to preserve freedoms for all people. They think we want to extinguish their civilization, their culture, and its laws as passed down from the prophets. How can we win against such uncompromising resolution? It seems they want to preserve their medieval world — despite its ignorance, fear and intolerance — more than we want a modern, progressive society.

Let me tell you how it was today on the front lines.

There is not that much carnage in the streets. I would say it is more intimidation, the relentless threat of attack, that keeps us on edge.

For example, we had mustered a line of troops to secure the perimeter of our area, and we could see the other side gathering their forces. We had been warned that they would act like they were on their way to worship, but would turn suddenly and attack. Believe me, you do not want to kill someone heading to church. But neither do you want to be killed. Terrorist or religious fanatic, it makes little difference when they are bent on eradicating you from the face of the earth!

So we stood at the ready, knowing we had defenses, but not sure they would be enough. We had several federal judge nominations we were prepared to bottle up in committee, and the line of same sex couples waiting for marriage licenses was formidable, winding all the way to the Ten Commandments tablet where we had set up a pro-choice information booth. It was rumored we held frozen embryos in reserve, but I hoped we would not have to resort to biological weapons...

This display only provoked our foe. We were soon attacked by a phalanx of SUVs covered with magnetic ribbons and "W stands for Women" bumperstickers. Scores of schoolchildren marched in front of a giant flag, reciting phonics drills. Our communications were overwhelmed by bursts of email and phone calls from tightly organized Republican cells, and Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly were broadcast toward our lines day and night at excruciating volume. Meanwhile, they continue to home school more recruits, filling them with fear and hate. I see their fresh faces and despair.

I was worried about biological weapons. Yet they introduced the nuclear option. Referenda on countless miniscule issues rain down on us like fragmentation bombs. Our basic services begin to be cut off — libraries, early childhood programs, and school arts programs. More and more of our troops' families are without health care, and others can barely stay awake on guard duty after working two jobs.

Then they accused us of protecting child rapists. Of targeting people of faith. Of murdering innocents. Of favoring criminals over victims. Of supporting cheats and bums on the backs of working people.

I have devoted my life to tolerance and nonviolence. I don't think I can go against that now. But we have already unleashed the out-of-control judiciary, advocated higher taxes and endorsed sodomy. I don't know what more we can do to win this war, my darling, but if I do not come home, you will know I have done my best.

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