Let's just get it over with It looks like the war with Iraq is finally here, after nearly a year of maneuvering.

I most definitely don't want the war to happen. But there's nothing I can do about it, and since the government isn't going to listen anyway, I'm going to be quiet about it once fighting starts.

As much as I dislike the foreign policy adopted by the president, I fully support the men and women serving in uniform in the armed forces. But when it comes down to it, I'm tired of this entire matter. I'm tired of the buildup towards war. I'm tired of the pro-war and anti-war protests that reflect the 50-50 division in public opinion. I'm tired of it all.

I'm tired of the rhetoric on both sides. I'm tired of being called unpatriotic and being told it's my duty to support the president. I'm tired of the protest signs depicting Bush as Hitler. I'm tired of the war taking over the domestic agenda while our country goes to hell in every other fashion. I'm tired of hearing about how the president prays for peace every night even as he plans a war.

I've finally reconciled myself to the fact that it's something that Republican presidents go through. Democratic presidents are always tempted to cheat on their wives and Republican presidents are tempted to start wars. It's just what they do, and you can't change it any more than you can stop Anna Nicole Smith from acting slutty, Ron Artest acting flaky or Michael Jackson acting weird.

It's hard-wired into their brains when they're elected. It's on their to-do list. "1. Replace Oval Office carpet. 2. Invite Alabama to play at the White House. 3. Start war with oil-rich country."

It's sad that thousands will die in this conflict, but since there's nothing we can do about it, it's best to let him do this and hope for the best.

Let Bush get it out of his system and then let the rest of us move on to something else. Namely, his defeat in the 2004 elections.

So if we're going to go to war, let's get it over with. We've got bigger problems to deal with, like the economic meltdown, the massive unemployment and the threat of terrorism.

You know, spring arrives in exactly one week, and it's hard to imagine a more eagerly anticipated event. It has been a winter from hell in almost every sense. It seems like the cold has lasted for six months or more. The ice and snow have been paralyzing to the city, making travel unpleasant when it doesn't shut it down altogether.

Now it's time to get ready for the thaw, both spiritually and literally. Maybe the successful conclusion of a war will open the gates of compassion in Mr. Bush's heart and he'll adopt more progressive stands on issues.

Maybe if we give him this war, he'll focus his attention next on the economy, the environment or jobs. Maybe we will finally get prescription drug coverage for our senior citizens or health insurance for our children.

Maybe we will get a housing policy that will not only get the homeless off our streets but also give more people the opportunity to own a home at a reasonable price. Maybe we will get a reduction in the massive deficits we now have, after having eliminated them in the last decade. Maybe we will get election-law reform to keep the nightmare of 2000 from ever happening again.

Maybe we will revisit the terrifying and un-American laws passed after the shock of Sept. 11, 2001. Maybe the metaphoric barbed wire fences that now exist everywhere in the country will be taken down. Maybe people will become more civil to each other and our political debate become more noble.

Maybe there will be less division and hatred in the country. When I was a kid, politicians at least acted like they respected each other. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter always referred to each other as "my distinguished opponent."

Even Bill Clinton and Bob Dole went out of their way to be polite to each other. Now we're reduced to finger-pointing screaming matches between opposing politicians on TV. Maybe after the Republican administration gets the war out of the way, and we move on, things will change.

Despite what some protesters say, America is a great country. Even though more of our freedoms are being taken away every day, we still have some limited right to speak out against government policy when we disagree with it.

We still have a relatively free press in this country. Freedom of religion is still allowed, for the most part.

We have things better than most. And we have a glorious past to draw upon for inspiration.

That's what should keep us going in these last hours towards war: the fact that there were leaders in our history who believed in the powers of peace and reconciliation.

At the height of the Vietnam War, Dr. King gave a historic speech stating his opposition to the conflict. In it, he quoted Langston Hughes, the Bard of Harlem, who wrote: O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath - America will be! There are many of us who see this war's start and cling to the vision that, one day, "America will be" once again.


Recommended for you