The bombing of Afghanistan seems to have tapped into a crusading mood that's been largely latent since the early to mid-1990s when aggressive intolerance and far-right politics all but ruled Colorado Springs. Recent events have unleashed a tidal wave of government-fanned nationalism reminiscent of the early years of the Vietnam War, when dissent of U.S. policy was deemed unpatriotic and "pinko."
Retired elementary teacher Hood: Near North End
How do you view the present conflict? Remember Gulf of Tonkin, the incident used by the U.S. to justify massive escalation of the war in Vietnam? Decades later, they admitted it was entirely a fiction. Trouble is, there's no way to know what's really going on over there, and we're not going to find that out from network radio and TV.
What should the United States be doing besides bombing? Increase our intelligence efforts to protect us here at home. I can't believe there was nothing to tip us off. Besides, I believe, as a fundamentalist Christian, that the less we entangle ourselves in world politics, the better off we are.
What's your view on dissenters? When I was growing up, we began the day by pledging allegiance to the flag and singing the Star Spangled Banner or My Country 'Tis of Thee. Teachers weren't afraid to quote scripture or talk about God. The positive side of this tragedy is that it's reawakened a sense of patriotism that liberals ignore.
Name one of the issues on the November 6 ballot. I think there's supposed to be something about SCIP, but I can't say exactly what.
Josh and John's employee Hood: Downtown
What's your view of the war? I'm pulled two ways. We can't just turn our cheek when terrorists attack on U.S. soil. It's probably good we're uniting to strike back. But it's also true that some parts of the world have a lot of justification for their anti-U.S. feelings. It's a huge, complicated mess.
Should the United States adjust its Middle-Eastern policy? The American public doesn't have clue one about the violence that people of the Middle East have to live with on a day-to-day basis, partly in consequence of U.S. foreign policy. For the first time, it's happening on our shores, too.
What's your view on dissenters? Have you seen all the huge SUVs with multiple American flags? They're sending the message, "Hey, screw you. We're practicing our right to consume." I just finished a book about Eisenhower in WWII. Every time he came to a crossroads, instead of surrounding himself with yea-sayers, he'd summon people he knew to think for themselves and tell them, "Give me every reason you can as to why we shouldn't do this." That's exactly the kind of thinking we need to balance out the pro-war mood of present. But the American public doesn't like that kind of thinking. They want affirmation.
Name an issue on the November 6 ballot. I can't. There's probably a lesson there, right?