LONDON 15 March, 2008: When we spend time in London for awhile we always marvel at the variety of people, cultures and opinions we observe. Today we were walking by Trafalgar and happened upon a mass of angry people waving banners and carrying signs. Not just your average demonstration this time - a number of the signs accused George Bush of being the world's #1 terrorist! This was truly an angry bunch, and it appeared that since their view of the status of the war was somewhat different from our own, our best strategy would be to quietly exit the scene.
I have to say that the organisers drew a good crowd for the demonstration, and for a brief moment one might say, "Hang on a minute, there a are a lot of folks out there that think we're really, really bad!"
But then something else became apparent - see the red tunic the fellow in the front of the picture is wearing? If you really strain to make it out, you might just be able to see what's on the back of the tunic - actually, here, I'll enlarge it for you:
What's this? A red star! That's right, this protest was well stocked with Communists and socialists! Just look at the picture.
Now, we all have our own opinions about Iraq, and it is not my intent to debate that issue here. Suffice it to say that it is certainly a divided subject. However when you look at the history of what the Communists have brought the world, the Iraq situation pales in comparison.
The point I do want to make is that whatever your opinion of the war is, we should not allow it to be shaped by these groups. Many people have questions about the war and indeed want it to be over now - but we should not be led by those whose avowed cause is to do away with democracy and create another Soviet-style state.
The lesson is simple: believe what you believe, but allow your opinions to be shaped by open sources reporting reality. We should not allow ourselves to be swayed by people who are merely latching onto what they think is the current most popular cause, while their real goal is to promote their twisted ideas of society.
One final note: our soldiers, those both of Britain and the US, are doing the job they signed on to do in support of their countries. They are not in Iraq because they want to be there or to make a political statement. They are there because they are serving and supporting their countries in an honourable manner. If we disagree with the reasons they are there, then we all, in both countries, have the right to make our positions known at the ballot box. That is what freedom is all about.
But when these brave men and women come home, they are due every respect that should be awarded anyone willing to selflessly serve their country and indeed to even die for it if necessary. They are not the makers of the policy - they just carry it out. And that is what patriotism is all about.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This article was originally posted in the Blog section of www.thesavvytraveler.com. Published by permission.