99 Red Balloons & John Bolton: Why the Republicans have lost me for a generation

It’s Sunday morning and I’m up with my 2 year old who woke up this morning chanting “I Love Balloons, I Love Balloons!” We were at a baby shower yesterday where she got a balloon as a gift, and our neighbor’s little boy gave her another one as we got home.

So I’m singing “I Love Balloons” with her and then I ask her whether she wants to hear the Balloon song? She doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but says “Yes!” anyway.

I have Nena’s original in German (99 Luftballons) and Bjork’s version (99 Red Balloons). I play them both to her and as I’m listening to them, and watching my daughter dancing around with her two balloons (neither of which are red) I think of the lyrics.

The song is about 99 balloons which are mistaken for a UFO and then interpreted as an attack by a military installation. They start a war that destroys the city. As the singer observes the devastation 99 years later, she launches a single red balloon to commemorate what was there. The song was written in Berlin during the Cold War when fears of a war launched in error were real. It was written about a year after the Iran hostage crisis ended.

My mind turned to John Bolton’s Op-Ed in last weekend’s NY Times: To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.

And then it hit me. There are only two type of politicians in the world. Those who want war, and those who don’t. That is all that matters in the end when it comes to politics.

I don’t want my two year old experiencing war. Ever.

I don’t want any two year old experiencing war. Anywhere.

Especially not a war cheered on by chicken-hawks who are happy to send someone else’s kids to fight and die while their friends profit from restocking our ammunition depots.

I’m an independent, but the Republicans have lost me for a generation. They’ve lost me till they elect leaders who don’t consider “anti-war” a slur.

So screw you John “Chicken” Bolton for supporting the war in Vietnam but avoiding deployment by enlisting in the national guard. We know you had “no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy” but were willing to support a war that sent thousands of other Americans to do just that and killed millions of people. And screw you Dick “Chicken” Cheney for avoiding the draft with five consecutive deferments and lying with relish to get us into the Iraq war. I’m sure chickens are insulted when they’re compared to you. And screw you 87% of Republican Senators who want to undercut a President trying to avoid war.

I won’t be voting for a Republican for a long time, not even one running for town dog-catcher. Because I want every parent, including those in Iran, to be able to spend a lazy Sunday morning with their kids rather than dodging bombs and bullets.

ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ

When everything else has failed. Then, and only then, is it just to raise the sword.
– Guru Gobind Singh