He was entitled to, and received, military honors at his burial. His wife received the flag. I couldn't help but think of what that flag stood for. Later, at the reception, I talked to my aunt a bit about it.
She prompted a comment from me when she remarked how close she and David lived to Canada. ("Wouldn't you rather be *in* Canada?") Of course, she said yes, but said he kept her from renouncing her citizenship by pointing out that she had an elderly mother, and re-entering the country should something happen might be problematic. I told her that I had also considered leaving, and then slipped into commentary about the current leadership destroying the legacy of the great works my great uncle's generation had done. After poking once that Bush hadn't actually been elected I asked what she thought we collectively might do to ensure a new president in 2 years, in the hopes that as a country we'd make it that long.
She didn't know, either, but expressed surprise that I was expressing a view generally, and that view in particular.
I commented "I'm becoming more liberal with age." Then I contemplated, and corrected: "The rest of the right is moving like lemmings off the edge of the world, and I'm standing still." That's not really true either, I'm further left than I was earlier in life, but I have no doubt that I am a centrist, now.
Anyhow, part of the problem I had getting here is tactics used by (what I perceive to be) the left. The Post-Gazette had some sane commentary in my opinion in this opinion piece, and it's the point I've been making with little success for years: making my life miserable to draw attention to your cause when I lack the power to change it causes me to do whatever I can against your cause, no matter how noble. Since there are people who believe "Nothing else gets attention" the media should neglect to report on causes of such incidents, or the incidents entirely. If being irresponsible is necessary to be noticed, stop noticing it, and take away the excuse.
Such protests have happened before, and they will happen again. You'll note that the effect has been unimpressive at achieving the goal set forth, and instead has done a fine job at irritating people who lack the authority and ability to stop the war now. How do we stop the war now? The best answer I can come up with isn't a good one, but it's more likely to work than going out and being obnoxious:
start a campaign to pirate music, saying that you will continue to do so broadly until the RIAA brings pressure on the Bush administration to end the war.
Think it's backhanded? Absolutely. Do you have the administration's ear? Do you think they do? Money talks, but you need a concerted action against a large sink of discretionary income that has some influence on legislative affairs if you're under any delusions that anything is going to happen.
So, where does that leave us?
Well, first of all, we need to motivate people to vote. I don't know where this massive source of opinion in favor of Bush is, but I hope it's an illusion in how statistics are gathered. I really hope that my opinion is a majority opinion, that this country has a prayer of regaining credibility in my lifetime, and the only way that's going to happen is if we elect a responsible group of leaders in 2004.
Second, people should understand where we are. I was happy to hear my father on the same side of the issue as me, even if it was for what I argue to be an incorrect reason: "The time to have gone to war was September 12, 2001. Nothing's happened that made us need to go to war now." I'm not sure if this means he's conflated bin Laden and Saddam, and I didn't feel like arguing about it in a funeral home. But, if I don't talk about it, I'm scared of the effects ignorance might have.
Finally, we can attempt to repair our country's reputation, but I don't know the answer to that one. For instance, the Arab News ran a piece that makes me hopeful that not all of Iraq hates us for being there, but... note that we're failing to adequately provide for their needs after arriving there. The question I had was "how do I buy bulk food and have it shipped there, as a civilian?". I don't believe the government will follow through on it's promises, just as I feel they did not in Afghanistan. The whole situation is out of control, or at least, out of mine, and I feel awful about it.