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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fr. Sirico, Hyperbole and Health Care Reform

Fr. Sirico has expressed concern about the unfair descriptions of Ayn Rand. He is upset about the “hyperbolic” critiques of her thought. He is worried about Paul Ryan and others being “tarred and feathered” in a “McCarthyism” way because of kind words they have said towards Ayn Rand. It is for the sake of civility and high-minded discourse, Fr. Sirico would have us believe, that he calls for care in denunciations of her and of politicians associated with her. As I wrote earlier, this is exactly the kind of “salt and light” influence that we all should hope for when clergy engage in public debate. Fr. Sirico has set a model of this charitable spirit in his essay, but I have challenged him to consider how his actions towards President Obama square with this sudden desire for civility. Thus far I have focused on how Sirico has criticized Obama’s visits to Notre Dame and Georgetown. Now I want to zero in on the language that Fr. Sirico and his Acton Institute have used with respect to the central domestic policy issue of Obama’s presidency, healthcare reform. Has Fr. Sirico avoided “hyperbole”? Has he steared clear of “McCarthyism”? Has he employed “images…in a dishonest way?” You be the judge.


Consider our neighbor Cuba off the shore of Key West. When conservatives criticize Castro’s (permanent) revolutionary regime by noting the utter lack of civil rights and liberties, sympathetic defenders leap forth to proclaim that civil rights aren’t everything. The Cubans, they say, have economic rights. For example, they have socialized medicine. But readers, the defenders of the Cuban travesty have confused economic rights for economic dependency. Private property is an economic right. The fruit of one’s labors is an economic right. Having the government give things to you is more like a voluntary addiction. The Cubans have their healthcare, but they live in a nation where forward progress nearly came to a halt in the 1960s and they have no voice. They are dependent on a government that acts like a bad boyfriend, sometimes kind but more often abusive.
Is it unfair or extreme to bring up the example of Cuba? We are, of course, so very far from their circumstances. The point is not to provoke fear, but to promote reflection. Once government begins to control something, it rarely relinquishes that control. If our government increases its role in providing healthcare to citizens, it will limit the freedoms of doctors, pharmacists, patients, hospitals, and others.


Here Fr. Sirico describes “The Parched Wilderness of Socialized Medicine”.

Here his Institute produces a video about “socialized government healthcare”. Are the graphics and the images done in “a dishonest way”? 

Here he says "This 'reform' will create a system that will put bureaucrats in charge of personal health care decisions -- not doctors. It will give the federal government an avenue to nationalize more than 15 percent of the U.S. economy, thus putting bureaucrats and elected officials in the role of manager and regulator -- much as we’ve seen in banking and automobiles."

Sirico Keeps Digging

Fr. Sirico Keeps Digging

A couple further notes on Fr. Sirico’s unreflective response to my questions.

1.     Why does Fr. Sirico think it proves his point when he lists the history of conservative criticism of Rand? My point was not that he was unaware of that criticism, but that in his framing of his original essay he left the distinct impression to the general reader that the criticism coming against Rand at this moment is on the Left.  In the very first sentence of his essay Sirico said “a politically left operative group in search of the election 'game changer' has set its sights on Rep. Paul Ryan and other conservatives who have said positive things about the philosopher/novelist Ayn Rand.” At the conclusion of his essay Sirico said:
It is especially off-putting to see the left employ images of her to tar and feather political opponents in a dishonest way very much reminiscent of the McCarthyism they so frequently denounce. They do not argue with Mr. Ryan—for their own ulterior motives, they merely associate him with an admittedly flawed and mean woman, and think they have done society a service.

All I did in my original post was point out that this was deceptive because the fiercest criticism I have seen of Rand online is at First Things, by any measure a leading conservative periodical. Sirico’s reply to this point is to say that lots of other conservatives hate Rand to--how does that address my observation that Sirico conveniently ignored any and all conservative criticism of Rand and made this into a partisan debate?

2.     Fr. Sirico also says that my analysis of his Notre Dame concerns is “superficial” and therefore unworthy of the good Reverend’s time. What I said in my post was that “Father Sirico legitimized the most extreme anti-Obama elements in the Catholic Right with an open letter to the President of Notre Dame.” I then quoted what I saw as the key elements of his letter. Perhaps it was “superficial” to have only printed some of his letter. So, in the interests of fairness and depth, here is the entirety of Sirico’s letter to the President of Notre Dame. Maybe something here that I failed to include shows Sirico giving the same charity to President Obama and his Catholic inviters as he shows to Ayn Rand’s hermeneutic.

Dear Fr. Jenkins:
You are, no doubt, being inundated with letters, phone calls and emails objecting to the decision of Notre Dame to invite President Obama to give the commencement address this year and to receive an honorary doctorate from your university.
I feel compelled to write to you as a brother priest to express my own dismay at this decision which I see as dangerous for Notre Dame, for the Church, for this country, and frankly Father, for your own soul.
I have had the honor to speak at Notre Dame over the years in my capacity as the president of the Acton Institute. I recall the sparkling discussion and questions from the student body, notably from a number of the Holy Cross Seminarians. I have, in fact, been invited to your campus on a number of occasions and on my last visit I was given a statue of the Lladro Blessed Mother in appreciation of my speech. I was told the statue was blessed by Fr. Hesburgh. It has occupied a special place in our religious community since then.
Father, I have no degree or awards from Notre Dame to return to you to indicate how strongly I feel about this scandalous decision. So here is what I have decided to do:
I am returning this statue to your office because what once evoked a pleasant memory of a venerable Catholic institution now evokes shame and sorrow. The statue is simply too painful a reminder of the damage and scandal Notre Dame has brought to the Church and the cause of human life in this decision.
Moreover, I will encourage the young people from my parish and within our diocese to consider universities other than Notre Dame for their college career and I will further encourage other priests in my diocese to do the same. I will also discourage Notre Dame alumni to make donations to the University.
And you may rest assured that I will make this sentiment known from my pulpit and in other public outlets as the occasions present themselves.
This is not a matter of abortion (I presume we agree on how evil it is); nor is it about free speech (you could have invited the president to a discussion for that). This is about coherence. You no longer know who you are as a Catholic institution.
It pains me to write this letter to you. I ask that you go before the Blessed Sacrament and look into your soul – the soul of priest – and reverse this decision before more scandal is brought to the Church.
You and the students under your pastoral charge will be in my prayers and Lenten sacrifices.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Robert Sirico

Sirico and I Correspond

Fahter Sirico has responded online to my two blogs. His entire response is in italics below. My reply to him is beneath.

Sir: At least twice you refer to my essay as a 'defense' of Rand. It clearly is no such thing - so your entire premise is mistaken from the outset because you did not carefully read the article. To offer a hermeneutic of someone's thought is not to necessarily agree with him - merely to offer an understanding of his thought and in Rand's case, where it went wrong, which is what I did. Besides, in addition to First Things and my own essay, there is a much longer conservative line of criticism of Rand going back to Whittaker Chambers' review of Atlas Shrugged in National Review in 1958, Russell Kirk's criticisms of her, and even Chuck Colson's more recent entry into the conversation. So, in addition to reading my work superficially you appear to have a thin knowledge of the history of conservative reaction to Rand.

Sorry I do not have the time to get tied down to responding to your equally superficial analysis of my concerns about Notre Dame. I would hope to have charity toward Rand, Obama and you for that matter - which always involved telling the truth as I honesty see it.

Really, Father? That is all you have to say in reply? I clearly noted in the blogs where you criticized her (I wrote: "Sirico concedes an enormous amount to her critics—acknowledging, for instance, that “she was the antithesis of Mother Teresa” and that “people who reverence Western Civilization must reject” her.) I said you were offering a charitable understanding of her underlying hermeneutic, but my main point was the political context you framed your essay in and the contrast with your treatment of Obama. Those points are not superficial and your refusal to address them under the guise of a critique of my limited knowledge of Rand, which I acknowledge in my essay, demonstrates a limited reading of my blogs. You can continue to dig yourself deeper, or you can acknowledge that you framed your essay in a narrow way that clouded the true nature of the current debate and that you are showing Rand a much more empathetic hearing than you did towards Obama and the Catholics who invited him to speak. Charity in truth also involves an attitude shaped by a willingness to listen, engage and speak with humility. My main point still stands—when Ayn Rand is under hyperbolic assault, you defend her, when Obama is under hyperbolic assault, you lead the way and fan the flames. This is obvious to anyone who does a cursory reading of your work.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Brazen Hypocrisy of Fr. Sirico

As I have already detailed, Fr. Sirico of the Acton Institute has an essay well worth reading up at Patheos. In my last blog I challenged the way he framed the discussion because he (intentionally?) leads the reader to think that the harshest criticism and guilt by association with regard to Rand is coming from the Left. Here I want to highlight the graciousness of Fr. Sirico’s interpretation of Rand with how he has chosen to judge President Obama.

In his piece at Patheos, Fr. Sirico says the following:

Given the interest in the writings of Ayn Rand in the years since her death, and the intensification of that interest in the present American political climate brought to a head with the release of the first part of the Atlas Shrugged film trilogy, it is sorely disappointing to read and hear such hyperbolic and personal critiques of the woman and her thought.

 What Sirico seems to be saying is that because Rand is an important public figure, and because her ideas are currently getting a hearing by large numbers of our fellow citizens, she deserves to be read and interpreted in nuanced ways, ways that do not reduce her views to slogans or demean her personhood. This is precisely the kind of charitable service to public discourse that I think priests can provide. They can help remind us of the human dignity in each person, they can help us appreciate the kernels of wisdom in people that we might disagree with, and they can help to elevate our debates over the Common Good. My problem is not so much with the message, but with the sad inconsistency of the messenger.

What am I getting at? Well, if you have not followed Fr. Sirico closely you are probably unaware of the fact that he has been one of President Obama’s least charitable critics. He has given the full weight of his standing as a Catholic priest to denounce Obama in exceedingly personal ways, ways that call into question Obama’s relationship to God and that cast his actions in the worst possible light.


When in 2009 Notre Dame chose to invite President Obama to give a commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate Father Sirico legitimized the most extreme anti-Obama elements in the Catholic Right with an open letter to the President of Notre Dame. Included in that letter were these words:

I feel compelled to write to you as a brother priest to express my own dismay at this decision which I see as dangerous for Notre Dame, for the Church, for this country, and frankly Father, for your own soul…And you may rest assured that I will make this sentiment known from my pulpit and in other public outlets as the occasions present themselves…It pains me to write this letter to you. I ask that you go before the Blessed Sacrament and look into your soul – the soul of priest – and reverse this decision before more scandal is brought to the Church.
That same year President Obama visited another Catholic university, Georgetown. In order to accommodate certain camera angles during his speech there, come religious symbols were covered. The White House explained the matter this wayDecisions made about the backdrop for the speech were made to have a consistent background of American flags, which is standard for many presidential events.” During the president’s speech, television cameras included religious symbols above the president and in the room that the president spoke in reporters noted 36 different religious symbols uncovered. Any charitable interpretation would have been satisfied that neither Georgetown University nor President Obama was intending to disrespect Jesus Christ or the Catholic Church by having the immediate backdrop for the president be consistent with the layout for presidential appearances. But this was not a moment for Fr. Sirico to show the kind of charitable interpretation that he is now urging us to take towards Ayn Rand. This was a moment for Fr. Sirico to assume the worst. He immediately took to the airways and to the internet to declare that President Obama was “capitalizing on a cultural shift” within Catholicism and maybe even “deliberately trying to divide Catholics”. He accused the leadership of Georgetown of being Catholics who are “embarrassed by the distinctiveness of their more faithful brethren who observe fast days, don't approve of abortion, think marriage is what their grandparents thought it was, and hold conservative views on the other hot-button issues that Catholics in public life frequently get asked about by reporters.” He was quick to frame the entire incident as one of faithfulness to God versus capitulation to a Catholic-dividing president, asking “if the Georgetown episode doesn't reflect an identity crisis -- the religious family that was once the Church's leading defender blots out their name (Jesuit) and their historic inspiration (Jesus) -- then what does?”
As these two incidents show, Fr. Sirico was from the earliest stages of Obama’s presidency eager to cast the president in the worst possible light. He was quick to describe every interaction the president had with Catholic institutions in apocalyptic terms. His lack of civility was brazen and his animating spirit was critical. The concern over McCarthyism and hyperbole and personal attacks so evident in his defense of Rand was nowhere to be found.


Ayn Rand, Father Sirico and First Things

The controversy over the nature of the late Ayn Rand’s ideas and their alleged influence on Republican ideas continues to illuminate ideological divisions within Christianity. The latest contribution to this fascinating debate throughout the blogosphere comes from Rev. Robert Sirico, a Catholic priest and the president of the Acton Institute. In a post at the influential Patheos website Sirico, who has in the past attempted to fill in the blanks of Tea Party ideology with his unique understanding of Roman Catholic and Reformed Protestant social teachings, offers a novel Christian defense of Ayn Rand’s “whole approach”. Sirico concedes an enormous amount to her critics—acknowledging, for instance, that “she was the antithesis of Mother Teresa” and that “people who reverence Western Civilization must reject” her. But Sirico offers an extraordinarily generous interpretation of what he calls the “hermeneutical key” to her ideas. He posits the notion that Rand was influenced in ways she never recognized by Russian Orthodox culture. He believes that “there is in Rand an undeniable and passionate quest, a hunger for truth, for the ideal, for morality, for a just ordering of the world.” He encourages readers to consider John Galt, the main character in Rand’s magnum opus novel Atlas Shrugged, “the One upon whom the world and its creative capacity depend”.

 I am not a scholar of either Ayn Rand or Russian Orthodoxy so I will leave it to others like David Bentley Hart to judge Rev. Sirico’s interpretations. What I feel compelled to comment on is the broader political context of Sirico’s defense of Rand. He prefaces his entire commentary by implying that the harsh criticism of Rand is primarily coming from what he terms “a politically left operative group” and at the conclusion of his lengthy post he says: “It is especially off-putting to see the left employ images of her to tar and feather political opponents in a dishonest way very much reminiscent of the McCarthyism they so frequently denounce. They do not argue with Mr. Ryan—for their own ulterior motives, they merely associate him with an admittedly flawed and mean woman, and think they have done society a service.”

Yet surely Sirico is aware that the most damning (literally) judgment of Rand is coming from First Things, hardly a hotbed of leftist ideology. It is at the First Things blog “On The Square”, not in the leftist blogosphere, that Joe Carter is outlining the clear links between Rand and the author Anton Lavey, author of The Satanic Bible. It is Carter, not Jim Wallis or Nancy Pelosi, who is accusing conservatives of “sustaining a climate in which not a few gullible souls believe she [Rand] is worth taking seriously…perhaps instead of recommending Atlas Shrugged, we should simply hand out copies of The Satanic Bible. If they’re going to align with a satanic cult, they might as well join the one that has the better holidays.”

I carry no brief for the American Values Network (AVN), the liberal Christian group that is pounding Paul Ryan and other Republicans for past praise of Rand. As some liberals have suggested, the AVN might be going too far in their criticisms of Ryan. But unless First Things has secretly joined a vast left-wing conspiracy, for Sirico to baldly state that the locus of criticism against Rand in religious circles is on the Left is far more dishonest than anything the AVN is writing or saying. If Sirico is interested in defending the virtues of Ayn Rand, rather than protecting the support base of the Tea Party movement, he should address himself to the extraordinary critique of Rand that is being set forth at First Things.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Digging Deeper into the Arab Spring

I have been reading lengthier essays on the Arab Spring from a variety of contexts and perspectives. The scholars and commentators I have been reading highlight the fragility and complexity of the events.

Jeffrey Goldberg, whose work on Netanyahu I recently highlighted, did a cover story at the Atlantic that gives the best overview of the changes and possibilities of the Arab Spring in an article aptly titled “Danger: Falling Tyrants”. Goldberg spices up the essay with direct reporting from key sites in the region and with frank interviews with leading policy makers, including Hillary Clinton. I thought this was one of his stronger points:

Creating an overarching doctrine suitable for the moment is an almost impossible task, particularly during a crisis that demands from American policy makers analytical humility, doctrinal plasticity, and a tolerance for contradiction. Analytical humility is called for because the trajectories of the Middle East’s revolutions are still difficult to discern, and because it is not yet clear that tyranny is, in fact, in permanent eclipse. Doctrinal plasticity, which in a less value-neutral way could be called hypocrisy, is a necessity because, while it is true that President Obama, to the surprise of many, has shown himself to be more of a liberal interventionist than a cold-eyed realist, it is also true that America retains fixed, and vital, interests across the Middle East, interests that have already forced America to side with monarchs over the masses they rule. And a tolerance for contradiction is vital not only because America’s democratically elected government is scrambling to keep monarchs on their thrones, but because people across the Middle East are embracing American ideals—freedom of speech, financial transparency, leaders who are chosen by the people and are accountable to them—while at the same time distancing themselves from America itself, and rejecting American assumptions about what freedom is meant to look like.

 While Egypt's revolution garnered extraordinary media coverage, Syria's has not. If you want to understand the Syria story better check out this review essay in the New York Review of Books. Malise Ruthven roots the violent repression of Syria’s uprising in the deeper currents of Syria’s religiously diverse population.

How did Syria come to this pass? While some observers see in recent events a parallel with 1989, with the break-up of the East European–style system introduced by the Baathists in the 1960s, this is no velvet revolution, nor is Syria like Jaruzelski’s Poland. The regime’s violence is not ideological. It is far from being the result of an emotional or philosophical commitment to a party that long ago abandoned its agenda of promoting secular Arab republican values and aspirations. The regime’s ruthless attachment to power lies in a complex web of tribal loyalties and networks of patronage underpinned by a uniquely powerful religious bond. (emphasis added)

Another recent piece in the New York Review of Books highlighted the role of religious diversity in another country’s uprising. In his essay “Egypt: Why are the Churches Burning?” Yasmine El Rashidi, whose memorable eyewitness account of the Egyptian revolution is now an e-book, gives vivid descriptions of the violence against Coptic Christians in the wake of the overthrow of Mubarak. Here he relates his own experience on the streets of Cairo:

On a recent afternoon this month, in a busy downtown Cairo street, armed men exchanged gunfire, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, and freely wielded knives in broad daylight. The two-hour fight, which began as an attempt by some shop-owners to extort the customers of others, left eighty-nine wounded and many stores destroyed. In the new Egypt, incidents like this are becoming commonplace. On many nights I go to bed to the sound of gunfire, and each morning I leaf through newspapers anticipating more stories of crime. Stopped at gun-point; car stolen; head severed; kidnapped from school, held at ransom; armed men storm police station opening fire and killing four; prison cells unlocked—91 criminals on the loose. Many people I know have already bought guns; on street corners metal bludgeons are being sold for $3; and every week I receive an email, or SMS, or Facebook message about a self-defense course, or purse-size electrocution tool, or new shipments of Mace. “These are dangerous times,” my mother told me recently as she handed me a Chinese-made YT-704 “super high voltage pulse generator.” “You have to take precautions, keep it in your bag.” (emphasis in original)

Coptic Christians are particularly vulnerable, as they always are during periods of transition in Egypt. What is most troubling is the connection Rashidi draws between the army and the increased violence against Copts.

In one of Mubarak’s final speeches, he warned that in his absence, there would be “chaos.” Since his resignation, the military council, led by former Mubarak insider Tantawi, has at times appeared to be pushing things precisely in that direction. The police remain largely passive, and soldiers often just stand by, watching crimes unfold. Meanwhile, the military has released long-held Islamist prisoners and lifted restrictions on approximately 3,000 wanted radical Islamists who had been in exile and blacklisted from entering the country.

If you are looking to dig deeper into the prospects for civil society and democracy in the wake of this time of change, these articles a great place to start.

My article with Andrew Bacevich is up at Christian Century

The article Andrew Bacevich and I worked on is now up at the Christian Century website in advance of its print publication in the June 28 issue. It is an honor to have such an opportunity to work with a true patriot and have that work published in a magazine of such historic distinction. Years ago I did articles on Vietnam in Books & Culture, Touchstone and the old Regeneration Quarterly, but I think in terms of substance and timing this is the most significant article I have been a part of. I hope you enjoy it. I would not have done it without this blog and without the readers of this blog. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Enduring Relevance of “liberal Christianity”

Great review by Timothy Renick of what looks like a great book by Gary Dorrien called Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice. Some nuggets from the review:
A good history reminder:
Amid a world that seems to be dominated by Tea Partiers and Fox News commentators—and by attacks on labor unions, immigrants and the poor—it is easy to forget that there was a time when liberal Christianity mattered in America. There was a time when Christian liberal theologians had the power to change the course of public opinion; when politicians turned to them for guidance about economics, foreign policy and war; and when the outcomes of elections rested on a candidate's ability to champion principles of Christian social justice. It is easy to forget that there was a time when being progressive was a criterion for public office rather than a damning political epithet.
A thoughtful explanation of difference between liberalism and the political left:
In Obama, Dorrien finds a kindred spirit—someone who defies political labels for all of the right reasons. Dorrien tells us that the political right and the political left make the same mistake about Obama. The right continues to doubt the sincerity of the president's support for U.S. military interventions despite considerable evidence to the contrary; the left sees Obama—who came into office in part because of his opposition to the war in Iraq—as pandering to conservatives in his support of military operations in Afghan­istan and Libya. Both views are mistaken because they are based on the same caricature of what it means to be liberal. For a liberal interventionist with realist tendencies such as Dorrien, there is no contradiction in Obama's support for one war but opposition to another. To Dorrien, liberalism is not ideological but pragmatic.
Reflection on Obama’s faith and liberal Christianity's relevance:
Neither is there a contradiction in another characteristic that confounds the president's critics: Obama's claim to be Christian despite his willingness to ask hard questions about his personal faith and to diverge from the prevailing positions of the mainstream Christians of his day. Through the lens of the Social Gospel, such questioning and divergence is not oppositional to but definitional of Christianity.
Economy, Difference, Empire invites us to question our own understandings of what it means to be a liberal Christian. When we do, we reach a surprising conclusion: liberal Christianity may still matter in America after all.

Credit Where Credit is Due

One reason I was attracted to the politics of Barack Obama was his willingness to try and rise of above petty, partisan politics. I believed that his center-left coalition would attract thoughtful Republicans, perhaps others like me who had voted for George W. Bush but came to view the national Republican Party as profoundly wrong on the big questions that have emerged post 9-11 and post-financial crisis. Some of my best friends and favorite authors are political conservatives and deep down I still see myself as a Lincoln Republican (energetic, principled government devoted to expanded opportunity to all), but this blog started in response to the apocalyptic anti-health care rhetoric of the 2010 elections and the union-busting efforts in Wisconsin and most of the posts have taken a decidedly negative view of Republicans and conservatives. Today, I want to balance those hopefully just broadsides against the general course of conservative politics with a post about three Republican politicians who I have learned from and appreciate:

1.     Rep. Chris Smith (NJ) Though most well-known for his anti-abortion work, Smith is also a leader on a number of international justice issues, including global autism, child abduction and human rights in China. He works tirelessly on these issues and builds bipartisan consensus around them.  

 Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) Lugar’s leadership on nuclear proliferation is morally, fiscally and strategically rooted in his Christian realism. He is the most respected Republican Senator on foreign policy issues and his partnership first with Sam Nunn and now with President Obama has been key to every major nuclear arms treaty seen over the last 20 years. And his pointed questions about the continued American presence in Afghanistan and Libya are, I hope, being heard in the White House.

 Rep. Walter Jones (NC) Simply put, Jones is the leading Republican critic in the House on the issue of Afghanistan. His bipartisan, conscientious work was exemplified in a recent Washington Post editorial that he coauthored with Massachusetts Democrat James McGovern where they challenged both parties to explain their silence on Afghanistan:

The new Republican majority in the House came to power in large part by promising to control spending and reduce the deficit. This war has already cost us more than $450 billion; combined with the war in Iraq, it is estimated to account for 23 percent of our deficits since 2003. Where is the outcry from the Tea Partyers and the deficit hawks? Fiscal conservatives should be howling that this war is being financed with borrowed money. Those who support the war should be willing to pay for it. And where is the liberal outrage? Those of us who are tired of being told that we can't afford green jobs, unemployment or health care should be screaming over our Treasury being used as an ATM when it comes to supporting the Karzai government.

The two congressmen have put their words into action and cosponsored the bill that was recently voted on in Congress calling for accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. As Jim Wallis is surely correct when he says Rep. Walter Jones’ opposition to this war has made him a modern profile of courage. He turned against the war after visiting constituents who lost their children, fathers, and mothers, as well as soldiers in the hospital whose lives have been forever shattered. He doesn’t think this war is worth their sacrifice. He is right.”