In Iowa President Obama’s campaign headquarters is the target of anti-war Occupiers demanding the dismantling of the “ U.S. military empire.” . A photograph of the protesters taken Sunday shows fresh-faced people mugging for the camera in friendly sincerity. The Occupiers were apparently either oblivious or unmoved by the news that the final American troops were departing Iraq as they pitched their tents in a public opposition to the President who orchestrated and ordered the war’s end.
In San Francisco, my church has been a hive of anti-Iraq war activity. The peace-loving congregation wrapped the building up in anti-war tape one year for a Mother’s Day anti-war media event, and we melodramatically toll a bell and read the names of war dead during the worship service several times a year.
Yet, not a word was said at church Sunday about the end of the war this Sunday, the day of the war’s end. Not a word from the pulpit during the prayers and not a word during the sermon. In fact, there was not a word of mention in any coffee hour conversation I heard. No prayers of thanksgiving nor even a secular fist-bump for having accomplished a dramatic change in the nation’s policy. Not a word.
On the streets and in halls of worship there is no acknowledgment that an ugly, unwanted chapter of American history has ended. There is no gratitude that the President has fulfilled his campaign pledge to end the war in Iraq. There is no celebration – even an appropriately solemn one – ticking off the significant end of a tragic misstep.
I worry. Moderates are doomed if we cannot appreciate policy victories and praise the leaders that achieved them.