As we inch closer to the showdown in Congress over our role in Syria, pundits everywhere continue to argue over the right course. For every person who calls for action, there seems to be someone who says no. The problem is we enter this world where everyone’s point of view seems so black-and-white. It seems pick a side, and fight it out!
And frankly, in the hyper-partisan, hypersensitive world we live in, we’ve become all too quick to place judgment on others, and we assume we’re also being judged in return.
Oh, he’s anti-war, it’s only because he dislikes President Obama. Or she’s a Republican, she must not care about putting our men and women in harm's way.
I think it’s more complicated than that. What if some of us aren’t immediately pro or anti-war? What if we find ourselves torn when it comes to our role in Syria? Where does that person belong? And furthermore, by not having a strong position, does that just make us seem weak?
Well, that’s exactly where I find myself. I’m well aware that admitting my own internal dilemma puts me in a vulnerable place to be judged. But I have a feeling there are many others out there who feel that same sense of doubt. Maybe even some of our lawmakers on the hill who are debating which way they will vote next week.
I’m torn between my desire to stay out of the current conflict and my moral code.
My initial reaction is to be against taking action in Syria.
Like the majority of Americans, as the polls show us, it seems like the last thing our country needs is yet another conflict abroad. After more than a decade of combat that cost us a trillion and a half dollars, left four thousand four hundred gold star mothers walking the streets of America, and hundreds of thousands of refugees in the Middle East – there isn’t much appetite for America to take on Syria and its allies. And even worse, going at it pretty much alone.
Why is it our role to police the world when we have our own problems here at home? We continue to stack up huge deficits, how can we even afford it? And anyone who has a loved one in the military immediately feels the emotional impact of a potential war. With two brothers in the navy, I know that feeling all too well Why put them in harm's way with no end game in sight?
And then my morals move front and center. What kind of world do we want to pass down to our kids and our grandkids? A world where chemical weapons are used with impunity? A world without accountability where rogue nations feel empowered to act against the interests of the U.S. and our allies?
And finally, a world where we are no longer that shining city upon a hill whose beacon of light guides freedom-loving people everywhere? What would that world look like? And is that something we’re willing to pass along to future generations?
The world we live in is complicated. It’s not so straightforward. Whether we decide to take action in Syria or not, there are numerous unpredictable and potentially severe outcomes that could engulf us and the world.
So, while I think it’s great that we can all share and debate our opinions, let us not forget the nuance. Each side has pros and cons, and making the most informed decision is predicated upon listening to those arguments.
Being undecided shouldn’t be a scarlet letter, but more a sign of thoughtful decision-making.
By engaging in this debate, and arguing the merits of a response, it proves that we are a country that prizes freedom of speech and the deliberation of our dually elected representatives.
In the end it is those ideals, it is those values that are more transformative than any military could ever be.