This is a letter to the Editor published in my local paper. I don’t know Vida Wehren, but I’m sure she won’t mind my sharing it here:
The night the invasion of Iraq began, I was driving home feeling deeply saddened and anxious. In the evening sky, the almost-full moon hung in a veil of clouds, its reflection shining below like a double moon. It occurred to me that some Native American cultures call the moon "Grandmother Moon," symbolizing the wisdom of the grandmother, the much-respected "old crone."
The moon seemed symbolic that evening of the wisdom that is so desperately needed to direct America's path through this difficult time. We are now engaged in a war that continues to be opposed by unprecedented numbers of people the world over. Yet many believe that the only path open to Americans now that war has begun, and the only way to support our troops, is to follow our leaders without question.
The wisdom of the grandmothers leads us to another path, however, the path of seeking moral answers to the terrors facing our country and the world today. The wisdom of the grandmothers calls us, as citizens of this great country, to protect America's democratic foundations, her integrity and her honor.
Guarding America's principles requires constant vigilance, constant questioning and forceful opposition when we believe our leaders are taking us in the wrong direction. It requires citizens to gather the facts from a variety of sources, to actively seek to understand what is happening in this world and why, and to form an opinion based on critical thought, rather than political rhetoric and sensationalized sound bites on the evening news. This is not being unpatriotic; it is being quintessentially American.
A democracy cannot stand if its citizens refuse to question and, instead, blindly trust that the government is acting in the best interests of the country, rather than the best interests of those in government. Those of us who believe this war is being waged on false pretenses will continue to exercise our responsibility as American citizens to seek out the truth and question our government.
We will continue to support our troops while despising the war that put them into harm's way. We will continue to fight to protect our rights as American citizens and the rights of all people worldwide to live in peace. This is what democracy looks like.