The Rock and the Hard Place
I know, I've been quiet again. Over the last week or so, there has been a disturbing controversy among the women on my mommy message board. As we're about to celebrate 5 years of friendship, we have come up a topic that has us really divided to the point of possibly losing contact with a couple of members and that makes me terribly sad.
We've managed to debate several topics over the years that have resulted in some hurt feelings and "board breaks" but never to this degree. I even considered one myself when the topic turned to "couples that irresponsibly take fertility drugs and end up with high order multiples then expect the rest of society to care for them". We've covered every aspect of the Terri Schiavo situation, birth control, abortion, the recent election etc. The board was the first place I turned for comfort while sitting at work on September 11th. We cried together over what it meant for the future of our 4 month old babies. We have banded together to soothe members over the loss of pregnancies, newborns, stillborns and family members. We went to the nth degree to help care for V when she became ill last month as well as file grievances with the military powers that be and politicians that eventually lead to the 10 day leave she just received with her husband.
To be honest, I was initially impressed with the openness of the discussion between the incredibly strong and diverse women I call friends. For a while, it didn't seem to matter which side of the debate you were on, views could be shared without feathers being ruffled. Eventually though, a line was crossed and the preacher's wife was personally attacked for considering a visit to Camp Casey by a military wife.
As is par for the course with me and as I declared when I started this blog, I don't debate so I didn't get involved with the dangerous thread. I don't debate politics or hot topics or religion. I don't because I think that this country allows us the luxury of being able to view the same thing in completely different ways and say so. I don't because when people become passionate about something, it inevitably gets personal and when it does it hurts. I don't because I don't ever want to be the one to hurt someone's feelings just because they don't agree with my point of view.
I read along with the debates because I love learning more about the women I care about. I love seeing where everyone else is coming from and find the points in their discussions that I agree with and those in which I don't. I find that I learn so much because so many members of the group are actually into politics, following stories, picking sides.
I'm not a side-picker I guess. I can read one person's opinion and see where they would come to that point then read an opposing view and see the merit there too. I can understand why some members believe that the war in Iraq is wrong, that we sent troops there under a misguided and misinformed agenda of our current leadership. I can also understand that our military personnel and families believe that they are fighting the right fight, doing the right job, putting a foot down for democracy.
In the end though, when the attacks get personal from either side, we've managed to undermine the entire point of the democracy we all covet. Our democracy calls for the people to question our leaders and the decisions they make. Our democracy allows us the freedom to disagree and side with the unpopular opinion with voices loud and clear. Our democracy makes room for the Cindy Sheehans and the George Bush's of the world to disagree. What's scary for me is that, beyond the fact that there is no right or wrong way to view our current political agenda in Iraq, is the basis that if someone doesn't agree with "your" point of view they are somehow less of a person with no credibility or value to "you".
The Preacher's Wife and the Military Wife are both incredibly beautiful women, mothers, wives, friends. They have both been there to lift me up when I have struggled with my own personal trials and tribulations. They have both come to my rescue with prayers and words of comfort. They have both made me laugh, cry, and shine from inside with their compassion, strength, courage, determination and faith.
I wish I could patch the wound. I wish I could make them believe that differing opinions doesn't change the person deep inside of the other. I wish that I could convince the Military Wife that the Preacher's Wife loves her, cares for her, cares about her ailing daughter and proud military husband and that even if she doesn't agree with why we are in Iraq, she's still thankful for the men and women, who are in Iraq securing her freedom here at home, wishing them all returned home to their loved ones as they continue to uphold the democracy that has allowed her ability to say or do as she feels.