Now and then I still fantasize about going into national politics. Then, I remember I have this blog and I have pretty much killed all my chances of ever being able to lie convincingly enough to get the traction it would take to make it onto a ballot. I certainly wouldn’t get Pat Robertson’s endorsement. While I am murdering my future political career…
Thor asks a lot of questions about politics. Half the time I feel like I am telling him too much truth, and half the time I feel like the truth is too ridiculous to tell (I tell it anyway, and we laugh together.) Yesterday, he started asking me about the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and the conversation wound around until I found myself trying to explain collateral damage and how targets are chosen. He processed the information back to me.
“So the soldiers dropped those bombs and then we won the war? But a lot of innocent people got hurt. But it made us win the war? So…I guess those soldiers felt very proud that they had done that.”
I told him I didn’t think the soldiers felt exactly like that, or at least that not all of them did. That it wasn’t so black and white. But, yes, the war had ended and we had accomplished our goals. I told him I wasn’t sure there was such a thing as “winning” a war because no one is a winner when innocent people are hurt. And no one is a winner when young men and women are forced to kill other young men and women. We all lose. Just some of us come out of it with more of what we wanted going into it. Mainly, the politicians. It ain’t baseball, Kid.
See? That’s a lot to absorb. I may not be doing him any favors by trying to explain the nuance of what makes war hell, but I really want him to grow up thinking about more than Point A and Point B. I want him thinking about A.1.0001, A.1.0002, A.1.ooo3–all the steps it takes to get to Point B, and all the periphery of an idea. I don’t want him to hear the President saying that there was an acceptable amount of collateral damage because there is no such thing. All collateral damage is unacceptable and awful, and it is horrifying and heartbreaking to think that “the other side” might see my son as potentially acceptable collateral damage. Worse, my own government might see my son as potentially acceptable collateral damage. We’ve all got to understand that.
But, just as we’ll always have the poor among us, we’ll always have the sociopaths and the power mongers, and they will always be striving toward more for themselves, which will always mean less for someone else. And those are the people who feel like blowing up children is fine, so long as they get their point across.
This should never be considered acceptable. Ever.
(Lane’s career in politics=Dead)