The question: Do you believe peace is possible?
On each and every the first of June
the cottonwoods take flight
dispersing on wind
Decisions with unforeseen resolutions flying around.
If the same intentioned choices are made
again and again
where does this lead?
On the first of June
the cottonwoods can’t be sure
how can we?
I have so many thoughts careening around in my head on this general topic of peace, I’m sure I’ll sound confused and maybe more than a little desperate.
We hear that peace begins at home, we talk about peace being not an effect that comes to us, but instead comes from us. I haven’t stopped believing that.
Do I think peace is possible? I’m really, really trying to believe that, but I see a lot of desperate, frustrated, unfulfilled souls out there. Sometimes, I’m HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired), and I’m that desperate, frustrated, unfulfilled soul. I try to keep from projecting it outwards, but that takes all the energy I would otherwise spend ameliorating someone else’s desperation.
It breaks my heart that I brought my son–my sweet, kind boy– to a 5k this weekend to benefit children’s literacy, and there were dump trucks blocking the streets, to ensure that a desperately empty soul wouldn’t drive through the crowd of families, as has been done in Nice, London, Kabul, and countless other cities around the world.
It infuriates me and strips something from my soul each time my children talk about lockdown drills in the same way I as a child would have talked about tornado drills–as though gun violence is something we have no control over, as though it were as capricious as a storm.
I have no idea how to fill the emptiness in someone who would drive through a crowd to maximize suffering, or who would deliberately hunt children down like vermin in their schoolrooms. I don’t know how to peacefully confront that, because in order to remain the good person I believe myself to be, I have to confront that peacefully.
Still, I’d rather be inept at that and remain a man of peace, than to turn to that darkness and become the monster I fear and abhor.
Do I believe that peace is possible?
Oh, hell, no.
It hasn’t really happened in my lifetime and I’ve been around since 1950.
And in fact, all over the world, I don’t think a day’s gone by without some rich pissbutt or other wanting to screw over a bunch of people to get prestige, power or riches.
And when they do, they need armies. And when they’ve got all that power, glory and money, they need bigger armies to hang on to the spoils.
It’s the history of the world. It’s the pre-history of the world. It’s human aggression. It’s animal aggression.
It’s the lizard brain wanting what you have and calculating how to get it.
It wasn’t progress when the higher brain function evolved to give simple greed a patina of selflessness.
Eureka! The Gods are on our side!
Empires of all kinds proliferated. Greek, Roman, Chinese, British ad nauseam.
They came, they saw, they conquered.
Onward Christian Soldiers!
If there is to be peace, try another hymn.
Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
I try to live up to it.
Maybe someday our leaders will.
I’m not holding my breath.