I can’t say I’ve ever seen such a sudden change. The woman’s eyes crystallized instantly. I could feel them change. I could feel her hatred.
I thought to myself: I’m projecting. This isn’t about my beliefs.
Then she spit at the nurse. It didn’t go far. Mostly down her chin. It would have been more dramatic if she had hit the nurse in her glasses, I thought. The nurse wasn’t wearing glasses.
“He died for nothing. He died because an arrogant fuck who doesn’t know his head from his ass is president!”
The nurse, who is a good nurse, drew back. I’ve watched her work. I’ve seen her handle a freaked-out kid, and a more freaked-out kid’s mother. I’ve seen her treat a belligerent drunk with kindness and respect. I’ve seen her get kicked by a kid who didn’t want his ear cleaned (he had put a popcorn kernel in it), smile, and try again. But it was easy to see that she felt this woman had now attacked her in a way that was unforgivable.
The nurse proceeded to talk at the woman about how our men are in Iraq protecting us. How they are there to eliminate the terrorists that are threatening us and our children, and giving all Iraqis a better life. How the people of Iraq are so grateful and supportive of the troops.
I didn’t say a thing. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve been living in a heavily military area for three years now, and I’m still uncomfortable. I watched kids at the rescue squad cheer as the first bombs fell in Gulf War II. I have friends and coworkers in the military. I support and respect them. But I don’t support the war.