No I don’t mean Wall Street. I’m thinking about the close-to-home counterpart of the phrase “The Arab Street” which we hear too much on the news recently. Trying to figure out what is meant by “The Arab Street” I try to imagine who the American Street would be and how they are reacting to the war.

Of course, the phrase “Arab street” is misleading, as if the mood of hundreds of millions of people in all parts of the globe could be captured in a single sentence, but those people on CNN must think it means something — generally the prevailing mood of the population of a few middle eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, the mood that is present but over-amplified in all those shots of Arab cities where anti-American or anti-Israeli demonstrations are filling the streets. Most Arabs aren’t as thoughtless and hotheaded as the demonstrators, but they share the same sympathies (Israelis have driven us from our homeland, Americans are bullies).

So where is the “American street”? I saw it the other night as my local news filled a 5-second fade-to-commercial bit with a scene from “American Idol”, where the contestants and the audience are all singing some “proud to be an American” song, seemingly with the subtext of “proud to be dropping bombs on the less-privileged”. Of course, most Americans aren’t as thoughtless and hotheaded as shown on “American Idol”, but the same sympathies are there ( Hope that the coalition troops to come home safe, Saddam Hussein is a thug).

Interestingly, I seem to agree with all the sympathies. Yes, Saddam Hussein is a thug, but that doesn’t mean war is the answer. Yes, I’d like to see all the Coalition Troops come home safely, but I’d also like to see the Iraqis escape injury in the conflict. Yes, American’s are bullies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a noble vision for the world, and yes, Israel did displace many people when the country was founded, but that doesn’t mean unfounding the country will do any good. The challenge for us all is to look past the street, past the flag waving and posturing, and into the hearts and homes of people around the world.

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