Background: I live in Western Massachusetts and work nights at the USPS.
Reality: Current polling indicates upwards of 70% of Americans want to end the War in Iraq and bring our troops home.
Sobering Reality: Western Massachusetts is mainly rural, and traditionally Republican, and when talking to “folks” in WMass, you might think by their viewpoints (talking points) that the war is still enormously popular and that Fox News really is fair and balanced.
Tonight at work my friend and co-worker Tim was out sick and I shared a work area with another postal employee, the “friendly neighborhood right-winger”, who I’ll call Bob.
I’ve spoken with Bob on a few occasions, but never about anything of great import like politics or world events. Both of us served in the military, he in the Air Force and I in the Navy, and our conversations were confined to military stories and small talk. If only I’d stuck to those subjects.
As Bob and I were preparing a pallet of large boxes for transport, I noticed all 8-9 boxes were care packages for service men and women overseas from a .org (sorry, don’t remember which). I pointed out my discovery to Bob and remarked that the .org people were doing a good thing and some deserving soldiers would be happy when these packages arrived. Bob commented something to the effect that the boxes were probably full of booze and porn. I shrugged off the odd remark and said that although I was sure many soldiers would love to receive such a package, I was pretty sure those items were forbidden. Bob then followed his initial odd remark with another doozy, that we were corrupting the Arab culture [with the booze and porn].
My follow-up to this comment was something like, They are already pretty corrupt.
What I meant was that elements of some sects of Islam, the elements that relegate women to second-class status and support/encourage terrorism, bigotry and intolerence, don’t sit well with me. I chose my words poorly, and was about to clarify when I saw a crooked grin break across Bob’s face. Bob opened his mouth. . .and all hell broke loose.
The people of Iraq love Americans, Bob began.
The problem with the Iraq war was the liberal media’s lies and the Iranian-supplied IEDs.
The solution is to gather our allies Israel and Great Britain and bomb Iran. Really B-O-M-B them. Eliminate the nuke facilities and all traces of the government and the Mullahs so that the people of Iran, who also love Americans, could rise up and become a great democracy like Iraq.
Ladies and gentlemen, my head spun. I could tell by the way Bob spat out the word “liberals” that his mind would most likely be closed-off to opposing views, but nonetheless I offered some: I stated that Democracy couldn’t be thrust on a people following an invasion. That the insurgency in Iraq was mainly a Sunni insurgency, most likely funded by Saudi Arabia, not Iran. That peace couldn’t be won with American boots on Iraqi necks (a metaphor which I meant to convey that many Iraqis now saw us as brutal occupiers and most of them believed they’d be better off without American troops in their country). I felt Bob bristle.
Don’t believe the liberal lies. The Iraqi people love freedom. None of our soldiers are doing the things the news people say they are doing.
Again with the big “ptui” when he said liberals. Uh oh, I thought, its gonna be a long night at the post office. Forget photographs of Iraqi prisoners with bags on their heads and naked human pyramids. Liberal lies. Forget Extraordinary Rendition and CIA secret prisons–more liberal lies. Forget the Salvador option, Smoking guns and mushroom clouds, dead-enders, and an insurgency in its death throes. Forget mortar rounds falling on elementary schools, forget electricity despite billions spend in reconstruction costs. Forget Death Squads. Forget the Coalition Provisional Authority, forget the looting, forget the Bremer orders. Forget car bombs and car bombs and car bombs. Forget it all. Liberal bias. Lies, all lies.
More insight from Bob, topic by topic:
Global warming/climate change.
A myth. The scientists are using incomplete data that only covers the period of 1970 until now. The eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Saint Helens put more gas and dust in the atmosphere than the whole of all post-industrial emissions combined. The planet goes through cycles of warm and cold, and we’re entering a warm cycle. Nothing to be alarmed about.
America for Americans. Build the border wall. Mexicans are terrorist threats and steal our jobs. Anchor Children policy should be reversed. No amnesty for illegals. Deport them all and seal the border. Preserve our language and culture.
South America/Latin America.
When the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the proposed cluster bombing of Iran are brought to a successful close, invade Venezuela and depose the “dictator” Chavez. Chavez is lucky that we’ve been so distracted with promoting democracy in the middle east that we forgot to deal with him–but his days are numbered. Also Cuban “problem” will be solved when Fidel Castro dies, as all Cuban people love Americans and American Democracy and will eventually throw off yoke of communist oppression.
I was not surprised by Bob’s views. As I said earlier, I live in WMass. I’ve known a lot of Bob-clones, people who’s views on all matter of subjects can be condensed to fit on a bumper sticker. These people are not evil or stupid, just busy with their day-to-day lives and tragically misinformed. The best thing a progressive person can do is listen to them, interact without showing scorn or anger, interject a truth or two whenever possible, and hope for the best.