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Ron Cruger
Conservative or Liberal, Democrat or Republican. Pick a side!
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            “We went to Afghanistan to save that country. We went there to get even for what the terrorists did on September 11, 2001. I’m proud that we’re fighting those Taliban guys. I’m proud of America. We’re saving Afghanistan and its people.”
          “What are you talking about? It’s like when we attacked Iraq. It was a big mistake, a goof, and what has it accomplished? Pretty soon we’ll be pulling out of Iraq and our war there will go down in history as a monumental error. And I have no idea of what we’re doing in Afghanistan.”
          “There you go again. All you liberal people can do is bring up the wars. We’ve taught the world not to mess with the United States. And we’re making great progress in Afghanistan.”
          “What progress? The Taliban is getting stronger and more and more of the Afghan people are considering the benefits of joining them. What’s happening in Afghanistan is becoming tragic. The government there is unbelievably corrupt and incompetent. The Afghan president, Karzai, appears to be giving up hope that the U.S. can win a war there and he’s even started making overtures to the Taliban to come back in the fold. He’s actually making ‘nice’ to the Taliban because he knows that in the near future they’ll be knocking on his door, demanding to be partners in government with him and his corrupt people. And, don’t conveniently forget that it was Al Qaeda that did 9/11 not the Taliban.”
          “All of this trouble in Afghanistan now is because Obama hasn’t come up with a good plan to win the war. And what kind of a Commander in Chief announces when he’s going to pull his troops out of a war. What a mistake that was.”
          “ Oh, c’mon, all of this started because the previous president committed our troops there without a plan of any kind. Obama, I think, understands the futility of fighting in Afghanistan and that’s why he is planning to get out of there in a year or so. I’ll bet he wishes we would pull out tomorrow. The American people aren’t willing to pay more taxes and give more young lives to this fight. What the American public should do is demand we stop the killing of our young folks and remove ourselves from a battle we cannot win. Plain and simple, we don’t belong there.”
          I listened to my two friends go at it. I liked both of them. These guys have known each other for decades. They remain friends of a sort. One is a dedicated conservative Republican, the other a liberal guy, a Democrat. Both of them are firm in their beliefs. I’ve spoken to both of them and listened to what they have to say. I always come away feeling a bit uncommon because I don’t understand how they both cling to their party’s views no matter what. They defend anyone in their party and deprecate anyone or any action conducted by the other party. Whatever their party spouts, they spout. Each is a fierce defender and advocate of their party, its people; its actions.
          At various times I have thought about belonging to a political party, but every time I come away unable to fully commit to defend or support its people; its actions. There are components of each party that I agree with and just as many as I don’t. Even today I find myself thinking well of President Obama, although being critical of some of his actions or lack of the same.
          The deeds, from the President to our Congress men and women, to our state and local politicians, have descended to but a series of unabashed exploitations to get votes to obtain office or to keep possession of the office held.
          How anyone can devoutly and unequivocally support and defend one particular party totally - its people; its actions, from one day to the next, is a mystery to me. I find myself unable to blindly (or otherwise) condone 100% of the goals and decisions of a group of politicians and their supporters, especially of recent years.
          I listened again to my friends as they sat on opposing sides of a picnic table in a pleasant part of our local park.
          “How in the world can you defend what Obama has done to our country in producing our largest deficit ever? How can we ever pay off the debts Obama has run up? The man has not done a thing to fix that terrible mess in the Gulf of Mexico. You know that BP was one of his biggest financial supporters during the election. He doesn’t want to get them upset. It’s the money. I don’t trust the guy. I think he’s lying to us.”
          “How terrible it must be for you to so deeply doubt the honesty of our president. How awful you must feel thinking our president lies to us. Do you think that Obama and Congress would have had to spend billions on saving General Motors, Chrysler, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac and the rest if things weren’t so screwed up before he took office?”
          “Big deal. Now the Federal government, meaning us tax payers, own parts or all of these companies. Why should our government enter in the area of private business? The government shouldn’t stick its nose into the business of business. Obama is really a socialist. Our country is heading downhill with him at the helm.”
          “Would you rather have had these firms completely fail and gone out of business? What the President did was save these businesses and thousands of jobs. Can you picture what would have happened if all these companies had actually folded and gone out of business. What a disaster that would have been for the country! Would you really have wanted President Obama to sit back and do nothing? If he did, you would now be complaining about his lack of action.”
          And so the endless and wearisome debate continues. Liberal against conservative. Democrat against Republican. The line is drawn in the sand. That marathon race to the next election has started. It began with the election of our current president. From what the Democrats shout and accuse, everything a Republican stands for is bad, immoral, sinful and reprehensible. And from the conservative side the Republicans are shouting the same accusations, using practically the same language.
          As I sat at the picnic table in the park, listening to my two friends debate I wondered if the abyss between the two men, the two parties, the two ideologies, would ever be reconciled - even to a small degree.
          In the meantime, our country waits.
Hitler, the columnist