War — what is it good for? | TahoeDailyTribune.com

War — what is it good for?

Paul Middlebrook, publisher of the Tahoe Daily Tribune

Hey, did I tell you about working out with my personal trainer Melissa at Time Out Health Spa? E Yeah, I did, didn’t I. Oh well …

Do you find yourself waking up more and more with more questions than answers? It all started when my parents got older and I had to start taking care of them … what a shock! … somehow I thought they would always be taking care of me. I am finding that a lot of things in life are not as described in the brochure. And where is that brochure for adults and parents? You know, the one with the answers to — Dad, why are we going to war? Why can’t they work things out? Why are some people at our school going to be out of work? Why doesn’t the city have more money?

As a responsible adult I respond with, “Well, boys, it’s pretty complicated … you’ll understand when you get older.” At this point they are thinking that dad doesn’t have a clue … and they are right. My dad used to say the same thing to me … “When you are older you will understand.” I am older … and you know what … I still don’t understand.

Two highly intelligent individuals argue the same point … and have two totally different and distinct points of view. But that is what makes us unique, what makes us individuals and defines who we are and what we stand for … and that’s a good thing. At the paper we print letters to the editor where one person is livid with another over their viewpoint. I think we need to respect their view even if we adamantly disagree with it. We are currently contemplating waging war against a nation that does not believe in that philosophy. If we have groups that expect another group to think exactly the way they do, then we would all think alike … and be just like that other nation. I don’t want to hang around with people who agree with everything I believe in E nothing would ever happen.

I graduated from college in June 1967. A little less than a week before graduation I received my draft notice … my mom cried … I cried. The idea of going to war is abhorrent to me, as it should be to any rational person. On the other hand, the prospect of leaving a larger than goofy dictator holding weapons that could alter the future of the world is also abhorrent. I wish I could say I have a well-defined opinion on this, but I’m not sure I do. But I know, having said that, someone will call or write me and berate me for the comment. My response is E I respect your opinion, you should respect mine, and talking to me about war is fruitless. Talk to your congressman, protest, let your feelings be known … but respect the fact that we are all Americans and respect our right to have our freedom of choice.

Another thought on that … if I am against aggression, it doesn’t mean I don’t support our troops … it means that I don’t support our national policy … many people seem to get confused on that one.

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Before I am thrown off of my soapbox … I keep reading about the schools not saying the Pledge of Allegiance because it says “under God.” I recall the quote of Charles Turner, a Massachusetts minister, who said in 1773, “Religious liberty is so blended with civil liberty that if one falls, it is not expected that the other will continue.” If you don’t want to say “under God,” then don’t say it, but don’t force others not to say it.

And you know what? I’m sitting here writing this on a beautiful, sunny day in Tahoe. My family is well, I hope that yours is also. Hug your friends and family, (be careful about strangers, it could get you into trouble), and be thankful for what you have. This country and this town have survived worse and we will survive this. With duct tape and plastic, we can do anything!

Paul Middlebrook is publisher of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He may be reached at pmiddlebrook@tahoedailytribune.com