A few months before Paul left for Afghanistan, and a few months after President Bush announced the troop surge, I saw my neighbors returning home with their two small sons. “Just get back from a family outing?” I asked, making conversation.
“Yeah, we went to a demonstration in town.”
“What kind of demonstration?” I asked.
“It’s to get President Bush to listen to the American people and bring the troops home,” she said. Of course, then I recalled the demonstration she referred to was sponsored by none other than MoveOn.org, that classy, rabble-rouser organization.
I was stunned by her admission because she knew Paul would be deploying soon, and they considered themselves good friends of his. It seemed vaguely — I don’t know — disloyal. I shrugged it off. Whatever, I thought. This is America and you’re entitled to your own opinion, however misguided and uninformed it is.
And it was very uninformed. As they pulled into their driveway, the thought struck me: Where the heck did they get their information? They were hippie, vegetarian, back-to-nature types. Their lifestyle was noble and sanctimonious. They didn’t believe in television, didn’t have internet for their computer, and didn’t subscribe to the daily paper. I know that because they borrowed mine all the time to read the want ads.
So how, exactly, did they get the news and seat their political and military opinions in some factual basis?
The answer is they didn’t. They just pulled them off their liberal shelf like cereal boxes. (But they didn’t eat cereal because it was overly-processed.)
I mention all this because last week one of my key sources of information passed away. Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, died at age 58. Almost every Sunday during Paul’s deployment, I watched the show. It was essential in my situation to stay current and understand the issues. I started with Fox News at 9, followed by Meet the Press at 10. By 11 o’clock, I’d gotten my weekly fill of primary source interviews.
But if you ask my neighbor, she wouldn’t know who Tim Russert was. She probably wouldn’t even know what Meet the Press was, nor would she care. It doesn’t matter to me if her opinions conflicted with mine, as long as she arrived at them thoughtfully. But she didn’t. She let MoveOn.org tell her what to think. And that, in my opinion, makes her a poor citizen.
Thanks, Tim Russert. Because of Meet the Press, your viewers are better citizens.