Conversation on Duke Street

| May 20, 2002 Issue

A student at Brown University, Paul McCarthy sits a while with his neighbor, a Vietnam Vet, to discuss the war in Afghanistan and learn about the different faces of idealism and patriotism.
His neighbor, also Paul, is the only person in his neighborhood McCarthy's ever seen with a loaded gun. Paul will sit on his porch on summer nights waiting for rats. McCarthy looks to Paul for perspective on war and -- originally -- to have his own views reinforced. His audio profile, hosted on, captures McCarthy's quest for understanding, and Paul's faith in the military.

After McCarthy fails to get Paul to support the idea that war and bombing are inherently evil, Paul tells him how young, naive protesters don't know what's necessary to protect our freedoms. "I think that we have to understand that the people under the age of probably 45 years of age ... forget that freedom isn't free. That millions of American lives have been lost on the course of freedom."

On the Web site, McCarthy shares his experience creating and editing the interview with Paul. He recorded the piece last fall, and with Jay Allison's encouragement, decided to revisit it for the site. So take a listen, and offer your thoughts to McCarthy. He'd like to know what you have to say.
--Sara V. Buckwitz
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