Ask Alexandra – June 2006
Dear Ms. Paul,
Have you ever thought about running for public office, such as Congress? Your integrity and passion sure would be welcome!
My skin isn’t thick enough for politics and I am no good at asking for money, but thank you for the support! I actually admire our politicians alot– there are many that are full of integrity and passion: Senator Paul Simon, California Senators Tom Torlekson, Tom Hayden and Sheila Kuhl, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressmen Henry Waxman, Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers , President Jimmy Carter. I believe that there are more good people in politics than bad. Maybe that is why voting is exciting to me, and why I continue to register voters after so many years – I believe in the political process and the Americans that make it work on the inside and from the outside. It is easy to criticize politicians, but they have an extremely difficult and stressful job and I think that most of them are doing the very best they can, with the best interests of their constituents in mind.
You won’t see me running for office, but I can promise you that I will be registering voters, helping at the polls and voting in every
You may remember me from when I asked you a question back in 2000 (ages ago it seems). I was a shy 16 year old with a dream. Well, I ended up getting injured and couldn’t compete at Canada Games, but I went on coaching at it. I now have athletes, younger than I was (one is only 11) competing on an international stage. I am still competing in sports, I am now playing hockey at a high level, even though I started last year.
I just wanted to say thanks. You inspired me not to quit and you’re inspiring a whole new generation of girls, through me.
I remember your letter (see Ask Alexandra archives, March, 2000), and I am so happy to hear from you again. Congratulations on staying who you are despite peer pressure to do otherwise. I am sorry that injuries stopped you from competing in the Canada Games, but how wonderful that you are still an athlete and passing on the joys of that to the next generation of girls! My knee surgery means that I can no longer run, but I have found that there is fulfillment to be found in other activities I might never have tried if I hadn’t had my injury. Your experience in the ups and downs of being an athlete has made you a better coach, I am sure. My husband is a coach – he coaches triathletes – and I admire him so much. He is giving people confidence, helping them overcome their fears and making them happier and healthier. What more honorable job is there?
My life keeps sending me messages that being who I am is the surest way to success and happiness. It certainly doesn’t mean I don’t look to improve myself, but I have learned that if I ignore who I am at my core, and follow another path (usually out of a desire to please others over myself) it usually doesn’t work out well.
Good luck with hockey. Write in a few years to tell us how your life is going.
As a Military wife I sometimes feel that people that are protesting the war are protesting what my husband does and what he stands for. I know this isn’t the case and that the people that protest want our troops to come home more than anything. But my husband who is a very conservative 27 year old is more for making a difference. He is an Instructor in a unit based from Camp Lejuene, NC called Division Trainning Company…I know you have given a lot of thought about protesting the war and letting politicians know that there are people who Don’t want us to be over there. Have you ever talked with any of the Marines or other Military members who weren’t over there just to fight but to make a difference? How do you feel about people like them that are over there to train the Iraqi Security Forces and other members so that they can eventually have a stable country?
AJ Woodard USMC Wife
Thank you so much for writing. Yes, peace activists want the troops home safe and sound, and I think we all learned in Vietnam not to blame the troops for wars that are begun and continued by politicians. Your husband sounds like a really good man, and even if we disagree on certain issues, I would probably like him if I met him! In America, I believe in the freedom to state our varying beliefs, but I prefer that be done respectfully. I try to be respectful of other opinions when I protest the war, but I do see anger and venom from time to time at rallies, and that makes me sad, especially when it comes from the “peace” folks, because it seems to be hypocritical to ask for peace and then be rude to someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with you. That is a microcosm of the attitude that starts wars.
I believe that most of the troops in Iraq want to protect the United States and help bring democracy to Iraq. I want to protect the US too, and I think it would be wonderful if Iraq were a democracy. Where we differ is in how to accomplish this. I don’t believe that having our military over there will accomplish either of these goals in the long run. I will admit that your husband knows a lot about Iraq that I don’t, because he is over there, but there are some personal principles I cannot discard – the main one being that of non-violence towards the Iraqi people. It also concerns me very much that Iraq has been painted as a land of terrorism, when it had NOTHING to do with the 9/11 attacks (not a single Iraqi was involved). What the United States now calls terrorism is what I would call “Iraqis protecting their land from foreign invaders”.
Saddam Hussein was a terrible man, and I glad he is out of power. But 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died because of this “war on terror”, and more are dying each day. As of today, 2,465 Americans have been killed. Can we not have thought of another way to go about bringing peace and stability to Iraq? I hold the politicians, especially President Bush and his cabinet, responsible for his debacle, not soldiers like your husband.
I hope your husband comes home safe and sound. Best wishes to you also, because it must be so difficult having him over there.