A woman in a doctor's office in our area was heard to say she was happy to know that any effort to keep out refugees would stop all of those "Sicilians" from landing on our shores. That was a head-turner as various nations desperately try to figure out what to do with massive war-driven migration across European borders. It once again alerted us to the unwashed views of many folks about the staggering reality of a horrific world that defies solutions.
So you can forgive the woman's error about the terrorist peril and paralysis the past few days that even the right-wing presidential candidates and their playmates insist belonged in the lap of President Obama.
From the breast-pounding fringe has come calls that he resign, blaming him for not mentioning "Islam" in his responses; Columnist Michelle Malkin referred to Obama as the "Nobel Prize-winning workplace violence whitewasher," a cheek-swelling mouthful, if moronic.
Some of the Pavlovian candidates, their hearts pounding in feverish anticipation, rushed off to Fox News to vent their shopworn political violence on the president with glib accusations but absolutely no solutions of their own. No one was more defiant than Sen.Ted Cruz, who asserted that any admission of refugees should be limited to Christians because they do not "commit acts of terror". (Hitler, a Catholic Christian, rehabbed).
And unsurprisingly, Jeb! challenged our short-term memory by accusing Obama of creating the "quagmire" in the Middle East.
His dysfunctionally hawkish brother - can we mention that? - at least was inventive enough to don a pilot's uniform and land on an aircraft carrier to declare "Mission Accomplished". It was one of history's greatest theatrical allegories of presidential chutzpah in action.
(His supporting cast wasn't much more persuasive as Dick Cheney batted away questions about the duration of the Iraq war by assuring the audience that it wasn't likely to last more than several weeks and that Iraqi oil would pay for the high cost of the American invasion.)
Frustration and uncertainty - that's what the whole civilized world faces. You'd think that in these days of need, the fringe would try to understand that there are no bumper-sticker solutions. None. For the superhawks, sending tens of thousands of American soldiers to Syria would satisfy the critics' needs to say something, but what would we do about terrorists scattered around the globe? And even in Belgium,where the pot was stirred for the bloodshed in Paris.
If we decide to bomb Brussels, should we first drop warning leaflets, as they did with Monte Cassino in WW11 with little success? The bombs killed more than 200 Italian civilians; the Germans had abandoned the hilltop abbey without a single casualty. .
The Bush-Cheney class now pretends that it is methodically in control and knows all of the answers. So Belgium, beware. And non-Christians, better fly business class.