A Few Things To Consider When Forming An Opinion On Syria

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As the war drums pound, it seems there’s enough controversy that phrase may be completely inept. Maybe they’re war bongos. And maybe it’s not pounding, but lightly tapping, like a jazz drummer with brushes. Either way, Syria is in the spotlight.

Read this tweet yesterday: “RT (re tweet) if you agree: President Obama, Americans don’t want this war. Do what your constituents say, you idiot.”

First and foremost, anyone who can make it to the Oval Office is far from an idiot. Second, I was surprised to read this from a friend with left leaning ideology. Third, while I’m still unsure of what to think, I honestly don’t feel my opinions, nor the opinions of Americans, should matter to the President in this matter. Here’s why…

Let’s say you’re a U.S. Senator, one of that exclusive club of 100 of our top leaders. A bill comes up and it’s your job to make an informed vote on said bill. To whom do you turn for advice?

You can vote your conscience. You can turn to your constituents, those very individuals from your state that voted you into office. You can turn to trusted colleagues, no matter what side of the aisle they happen to be on. You can turn to the lobbyist trying to get you to vote with their interest. You can vote the same way your party votes. What do you do? All of the voices trying to persuade your vote have legitimacy. You can’t make everybody happy. It’s your duty to do the right thing; NOT to please everyone. It’s a tough position to be in. Because it’s a tough position, it’s why I (and most people I know) would not want to be politicians.

And, let’s not forget the wide smattering of bills that comes before Capital Hill. Everything from foreign policies to farm subsidies. No one person can be an expert in every area. So, who do you turn to for advice?

What my political science 110 class taught was this: when dealing with foreign policy, difer to the administration and the intelligence. For domestic issues, listen to constituents.

I think this is pretty sound advice. I, as a Floridian, am going to have a lot more first hand knowledge of laws that touch me personally here on the home turf of the USA. As a former Missourian and having spent a good portion of my life in a community powered by agriculture, I hope elected officials would listen to my opinion on the latest farm bill. But foreign policy? That’s a whole different ball of wax.

It’s pretty obvious that no one wants a war with/against Syria. Americans are pretty weary of a war that started in 2001 and never seemed to go anywhere. But, again, even though I’m no fan of war nor do I want us to get sucked into a war, I’m also humble enough to say, “President? Congress? Senate? You have the intel. You have the foreign policy knowledge. You know how foreign relations will be effected by whatever decision is made. I do not. Therefore, since you have more knowledge, I have to trust you to do what is right. Good luck.”

While I’m leary of politicians voting their own self interest, in a matter like this, I’ve just gotta believe in “the system.” Should I? That’s up for debate. Still, as of right now, it’s arrogant and foolish to want foreign policy decisions to be based on the opinions of American citizens without a need to know status.

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