Pastor Walter Mitty had a hard time sleeping last night.
What happened was that he had listened to Pres. Obama’s speech, which confused him even more than he was a week ago. Before listening to the president, he had made up his mind that doing even a limited strike on Syria wasn’t a good idea. Then, Obama had given a response in his speech to almost every objection he could think of. Pastor Walt still wasn’t convinced we should strike militarily, but the president’s argument was at least plausible.
Tired but at the same time wide awake at 5:30, he had already downed two cups of Equal Exchange fair trade coffee before walking out of his front door to walk to the Main Street Café for the weekly men’s breakfast meeting.
“‘Morning Walt.” Michael was watering the flowers in front of his house.
“You’re up early, Michael.”
“Couldn’t sleep. Obama’s speech wouldn’t let me.”
Mitty laughed. “Me, too. So what did you think?”
“I have just two words: Auschwitz and Treblinka.” Michael turned off the water. “As you can imagine, I’m hyper-sensitive on this, but if we would have stopped Hitler before his death machine got rolling, six million of my people would have escaped the horrors of the extermination camps.”
“You think Assad is another Hitler?”
“No. But, like I said, I’m hyper-sensitive. Knowing that he used poison gas on his own innocent people. . . .”
Michael’s voice trailed off. Pastor Walt put his hand on his neighbor’s shoulder and began his walk to the Main.
The discussion at breakfast was in large part a rehash of last week’s conversation, with everyone agreeing that, in many ways, trust was the issue.
Eric kind of summed up the discussion when he said, “I voted for Obama, but I just don’t trust that if we dive into that military pool again, we’ll be able to swim. And, I have to confess that I wonder if power hasn’t gone to the president’s head a little. I mean, when only 12% of Americans are for military intervention.”
Alice, who had been listening to the conversation as she filled cups with Superior coffee, decided it was time to set the men straight. “That’s why I trust him.”
Four heads turned to hear her explain. “It’s the 12%,” she said. “It’s like this. If the Ricketts Family asked you to be the manager of the Cubs next season, what would you say?”
Four pairs of eyes rolled in their sockets.
“If you said ‘yes’ you’d be either delusional or really committed to the team. I mean, I don’t think Obama is God or anything like that, but the fact that he’s willing to kind of swim against the current tells me that he’s making this stand because he believes it’s the right thing to do and not to win a popularity contest.”
After Alice had left the booth to attend to other customers, Eric broke the silence. “I have to admit it, but this time I think Alice has a good point.”
“You mean about trusting the president?” asked Dominique.
“Yeah. Like Alice said, it’s not that he’s God, but he does see the big picture in a way that none of us can.”
“And he did say that he would postpone the military strike and give the Russian proposal a chance,” Ash added. He took a sip of coffee and continued. “Talk about setting your ego aside. Think of it. Obama agreeing to follow Putin’s lead?”
As Pastor Walt walked home, he thought, “I’m still not sure Obama is on the right track, but I’m glad I voted for him.”