I run into people who are anti-war all the time, living in a military town. Most of the time I turn and walk away.
Before my sister married a military man and he was deployed, before they had a baby, and before I watched her worry daily for his safety, I really didn't have an opinion on whether or not we should be at war. I had no personal reason to have an opinion. I still don't. However, now that I am experiencing her living this life, I definitely am aware that people are dying, and not in vain.
The other day I ran into an anti-war booth at a street fair. I looked at my sister looking at the booth, and watched her quietly cross the street away from it, pushing her stroller. And it made me mad! I marched over to that booth, asked the man why he felt the way he did, and when he gave me some pithy answer about God and the inhumanity of war and killing, and how there was no *reason* for people to be dying, I pointed to my sister and her baby stroller, and asked him if he'd ever thought about how people like my sister and her husband feel. "The war is wrong, there's no reason for us to be over there," was his response.
"You honestly think these men and women are giving up their lives for nothing?" I asked him.
"Yes I do," he said.
I asked him if he'd like to tell my sister, to her face, that the fact that her husband is daily in danger of losing his life is worth nothing. That there's no reason for him to be in danger of dying. "Well, no."
I asked him if he'd like to look at my two-week old nephew, and imagine that he might never know his father because he is fighting a war and could die. Would that make him change his mind? Or would he still tell him that his daddy being in danger of dying is all in vain? "Well..."
After awhile, as my voice became louder and louder and more and more people started listening in, I realized that nothing I could say was going to make this man change his mind. But that wasn't my intention, as I am fully aware that he is entitled to his own opinions. Instead, I wanted him to be aware that by belittling the deaths and injuries of our country's service people he is hurting people like my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, not to mention countless friends and even more family.
In his reaction, in his faltering voice as he kept reciting how un-Christian and useless the war was, I could see and hear that I had at least made him think. (And I hope, maybe as uncomfortable as my sister feels when she sees and hears people who are against the war, ahem.) I lowered my voice and said, "I hope you realize that that young woman's husband, and that infant's father, are fighting for your country too. You may not agree with the reasoning behind it, but there is a reason, so maybe you should come up with a different answer when someone asks you why you are against the war. I hope you think about your audience before telling people how useless the war is." And I turned my back on him and walked away.
I know I didn't change his mind, but I felt a little better after telling him my opinion. I'm sure I'll see him again, or someone else who is adamantly against the war, but I hope that at least now maybe this man will think twice about his answer.
(Please note, I try to keep things light around here, but this is something that's weighing heavily on my mind.)