Let's make peace sexy again!
We’re all against war. NO MORE KILLING! Give peace a chance. War is not healthy for children and other living things. Bring our boys home!
On Veteran's Day recently, a marching band struck up the rousing “As The Caissons Go Rolling Along” and sure enough, it was thrilling to hear.
War’s got it all. Passion, commitment, sacrifice, the highest of stakes, and the coolest of uniforms.
At the corner of 46th and Fifth, a small group of about twenty trim, young, intimidating soldiers was splendid in their tight black uniforms. Each was carrying a rifle fitted with a bayonet. Peace does not have cool uniforms. It doesn’t have rousing marches that quicken one’s pace and heart.
This is not to say there aren’t some damned moving songs against war and for peace. People have been singing protest songs against the insanity of war for generations. Millions of us have been writing and, yes, marching and raising our voices and voting and running for office and carrying banners. None of it’s done any good. All those righteous students carrying on in 1969 may like to think they were the ones who finally got the United States TF out of Southeast Asia.
Ask the guys who were actually out there in the jungles who ultimately shut that bit of madness down.
Once the actual soldiers were putting down their weapons (sometimes after taking out one or two particularly loathsome commanding officers), the fellas in the Department of Defense began seriously looking for a way out.
Here’s the rub, though. We say we want peace.
But most of us — especially those carrying extra testosterone — relish the excitement of war.
Can we be real here? We’re all adults. Peace is boring.
It's pretty common actually for soldiers who had survived one or two tours of duty to re-up after six months or so of home cooking and television. What did life as a husband and father, going to work every day, maybe getting lucky once a week with the wife, bowling with the guys on the weekend have to compete with the terror, the camaraderie, the sense of purpose, (and the drugs) that war has always offered?
We’re never going to end war until we figure out that peace is actually much sexier than we’ve been making it out to be.
For one thing, we haven’t really given peace enough of a run to discover whether it is way more fun than war. It's unlikely that there has been any period of human history that’s managed more than fifty years tops without someone starting trouble with someone else.
Here’s why we think peace is boring. We’re doing it wrong!
Peace should mean much more than settling into a monotonous work-a-day life. Why can’t peace include adventure and exploration and — here’s the kicker — a deep sense of purpose?
Of course, in order for peace to compete with war, we’re going to have to let go of most of our current ideas of what constitutes a good life.
Most people in the United States and even much of Europe and Asia take it at face value that making boatloads of money, having a great car, wearing the latest fashions, and owning a big house are what make for a great life. And in order to achieve that great life, millions of people go into trillions of dollars of debt every year.
We chase what we think will make us happy and we base that on the lies we’re constantly being told by people who want us to buy their stuff.
When (if?) we stop thinking of ourselves as free agents, rugged individuals with magic bootstraps, we might discover that we’re part of a miraculous creation. When we realize that doing things that inconvenience us in order to make someone else’s life easier, warmer, and safer we’re well on our way to discovering our true purpose in life.
When we stop rushing to score that Big Deal and notice how beautiful the rain looks as it slides down the window, we might know Peace.
And we’ll want to share that with the stressed-out guy standing next to us on a rush-hour bus.
That’s when war will lose its allure and be exposed for the disgusting racket that it’s always been. No one will be tricked into wearing tight, uncomfortable uniforms while parading around with weapons. The jig will be up.
Then we’ll see how sexy Peace has always been.
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