If you know me, and have suffered through my frequently repeated autobiography, you know that I was an anti-war activist in the 60-70s and then progressed into more and more radical politics until I ended up in a pretty strange place, before I chucked all of that. Reclaiming my Unitarian roots was a huge step to the right for me.
I became politically, first a Jackson Democrat, and then a Clinton Democrat, mostly because I appreciated his pragmatism and his skills at political combat. I am usually repelled by what in Chicago used to be called "goo-goo's", or good-government types: idealistic, intellectual, policy-oriented, honorable. Give me Jack Kennedy over Hubert Humphrey; give me Robert Kennedy over Eugene McCarthy; Give me Bill Clinton over Paul Tsongas, and in the choice between Bill Bradley and Al Gore, let me just shake my head.
All of which is to let you know that I allergic to beautiful losers and to all sorts who try to make the world a better place by the simple peaceful radiance of their own good example.
I am also allergic to the Marxist-Leninist Left and its embrace of totalitarianism.
So, on the beautiful blue skied day of 9/11, I was sitting at home, a twitching and irritable lump of political allergies and aversions, and lacking a clear political programme and foreign policy, and then someone called and I started a long bout of TV watching.
At the first emergency memorial service I attended, which was within a very short time, I heard one of those prayers in which the pastor prayed that "we would turn away from anger, vengeance and violence." Obviously, the good reverend was not personally tempted toward such things, but was confessing other people's sins for them. I had the sudden desire to throw up, and my interactions with the antiwar movement continued to have a similar effect on me for weeks and months and years afterward.
I became emotionally supportive of the war against Iraq, in part, because the antiwar movement opposed it. Not my finest hour, nor my most best thinking. I don't think I am alone in this, though.
More in Part 2