It’s like we’re all a bunch of brides.
As the embedded journalists in various insundry airborne divisions report about increased resistance from Iraqi forces, and as the world press continues to splash pictures of wounded or dead American soldiers across the hypnotic glare of our televisions, and as our newspapers place screaming Iraqi children with firebombs in the background on the front covers of the daily press, the truth begins to sink in with unfettered discomfort.
War, as it turns out, is as hellish as they say.
And it is understandable that so many of us are, at this point a few weeks in, like brides in the back of the church, wondering what we are doing. Staring at the altar, staring at the exit.
Which is why most of us would make fairly impotent state, nation or world leaders. And while our nation at times seems to be fumbling in a forest of indecision, it’s nice to hear a little resolve.
There is a time for careful consideration of the ramification of things. And there is a time for action. And while a lot of us are wondering what the heck is going on in the world, the people we have elected to make the more difficult decisions for us are embracing those decisions with dogged resolve.
And Colorado Governor Bill Owens is no exception.
Owens speaks with the strong rhetoric of a national political leader when asked about the United States’ role in Iraq.
“The war against terrorism, and the current fight to liberate Iraq and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, is absolutely necessary to safeguard the future of our nation and for free people around the world,” Owens argues. “The evidence is clear and compelling that removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power will greatly enhance stability and security around the world.”
Owens is unwavering in his resolve to remove Hussein for the good of the Iraqi people, as well as for the good of the international community. But as Governor of Colorado, he has his eyes focused squarely on his own neighborhood as well.
“Eliminating the threat from Iraq and from other sponsors of international terrorism is not just an issue of international security; it is a homeland security issue,” Owens says. The most effective step the United States can take to protect our homeland is to attack and defeat terrorists in their homeland.”
Owens makes the perfect wartime governor, because he understands how the state of things plays out in both arenas. The international context is huge and scary and must be dealt with determinedly. But you’ve got the people living in Ault, too. The people who may have sons or daughters or spouses in Iraq right now. And the people who don’t even know someone who knows someone in Iraq. Both sets of people still need to gas up their cars in the morning and tuck their kids in at night. Regardless of the context of the larger world, the context of the smaller world is always at hand. And Owens is a governor ideally suited for both.
He speaks about the security issues that need to be addressed in his state. “The strong and effective action by our military is not the only way we are protecting the people of Colorado. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, we have been working around the clock to strengthen security around Colorado.”
He then gets into the nitty gritty of security preparedness. “I created an Office of Preparedness and Security that is coordinating our efforts at the state level with the federal government and with county and municipal governments,” he explains. And one gets the feeling that even in a society that is plagued by a mistrust of its leaders, Governor Owens has got our backs.
“I have met personally with the President on numerous occasions to discuss the ongoing joint efforts between Colorado and the federal government to prevent terrorism and respond quickly if an attack occurs,” he responds.
And he defers to his President. “President Bush clearly understands all that is at stake in defeating the Iraqi regime-including our way of life, the safety of citizens in our states, and our economic way of life.”
And so, as ordinary citizens, we daily stand at the apex of decision. Do we give the resolve that has also been asked of us, or do we turn and head out the door. Look to who we have asked to make the decisions.
We have elected leaders with resolve, leaders who genuinely seem to care and who do not take lightly the lives of their own citizens and those of citizens on the other side of the planet. But leaders who are willing to take the hard road in hopes of emerging sooner from the forest.
Sarah Laibee is a teacher certification student, currently eating daily school lunches at Rocky Mountain High School. She highly recommends the pasta served in the middle line of the cafeteria.