Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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More Reflections on Peace

I've thought a lot about the world in regards to the current conflicts since I wrote that article encouraging reflection and restraint in our response to the attacks in New York City. I mean, for all our religious beliefs in this country, all our tenets of "turn the other cheek", all our teachings of "nonaggression" and our preaching of abiding in "faith, hope, and charity," seems to mean very little.

I'm a realist, and I realized that most Americans wouldn't listen to talk of forgiveness, however, I was very surprised to see many of my friends, who I would label socially liberal and normally peaceful, start attaching flags to their cars in patriotic fervor. I often heard, "we can't just do nothing."

I suppose that I'm a "pacifist," but while I hate most labels, I really hate that one, as it implies weakness… "you're not strong enough to fight, so you're a pacifist." However, in general, I feel that it requires more strength not to react violently to violence.

Usually, I would advocate peace first, and use warfare only when there are no other choices. But in hindsight, it is difficult to hold to a "peaceful" stand in regards to the wars of aggression and oppression. For instance, in Afghanistan. I mean, the extreme views of the Taliban against women merit such a response, right?

But overthrowing a government won't change the minds of the people and the forces that established that government. The German majority "elected" Hitler and permitted him to take charge. I like to think that if the majority of Germans of that time could have seen the end results of that election, they would not have chosen differently. Let's hope that is what will happened in Afghanistan, and that the people in that country will want to set up a better government.

But that is just trying to unring the bell in Afghanistan.

What I'm wondering now is about some of our current policies, as it seems that the war will just be prolonged (see my thinking as to why I feel this way).

The other day on my way to work, I passed a number of people on a bridge holding the words promoting peace. However, many of the people were wearing masks with grotesque features. While they were clearly trying to get attention, I firmly believe that the medium is the message.

A few days before my wife and I were downtown with our baby, and down the street came a small peace demonstration. However, their drumming and chanting scared my wife. It seems strange that this is the case, but messages of peace cannot appear militant.

It seems to me that Ghandi's "passive resistance" could be understood as a peaceful response to social change. But how does one protest against aggressive foreign policies when one's message is peace?

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