On Being an American Pacifist

I started writing a long, kinda preachy post and then I just stopped.

Here’s how I feel as a pacifist:

I am a conflicted human in my American place. I often wonder if I am stupid and ignorant.

There is no doubt I am grateful for the freedom of our lives here. And my mind comprehends the series of ugly events that occurred to get us to where we are today.

Knowing those events doesn’t change my mind: my belief holds that war is unnecessary. Resolutions can be reached without slaughtering each other.

We can make room for each other, without suffocating our enemies in disease-ridden blankets.

Why We Fight

People manipulate when they are afraid, and when they can’t trust people. World leaders try to make it look like “defense strategy,”  but the more you get to know people, the more you realize that we are all just little kids, working on our own fears

Right now, we are working toward a terrifying combination of isolation and access. Everyone knows something-but-too- little (140 characters?) about others’ business. We are on the knife-edge of information. We don’t feel informed at all. We hear whispers in the next room, coming from our Tweet Decks and cell phones. Social media is designed to make us feel like we are constantly just outside the cool click on the playground. And we will NEVER get in. That can make “kids” very sad, lonely, and angry. Frustrated.

Two-year-olds hit because they can’t communicate what they want. Frustrated.

Colin will argue we fight “in certain circumstances” and so do many others. What about the Holocaust??? people always say. But they can never give an answer to where we draw the line. They have no line.

I say there are measures of attention that we can take to slow the progress of creating dictators and genocidal manics.

One of these is to be the model of peaceful culture first. We have to do as Gandhi did and to change the way we THINK. Peace has to be the only way to peace. Not hitting.

Unfortunately, as countries, we don’t act like the Kindergarten teacher, with her soft voice and her gentle hand.

We act like the Kindergartners.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 


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