“Something’s Got to Give”, the Beastie Boys
The question I hold tonight is: Shall we? Can we possibly reach and maintain peace?
I don’t know…..but sometimes it’s hard to be optimistic….
Cross posted at Daily Kos
What I do know is that peace cannot exist without two things: love and respect.
If we cannot respect those who are different than us, we cannot be at peace with them. Far too many of us find it too easy to fall into the trap of dehumanizing those who are different, an attempt to justify our lack of respect for them. We find it too easy to drag out those terms that denigrate others. Too easy to call someone a “fag”, a “nigger”, a “kike”, a “bitch”, whatever…
I know that I grew up falling into that trap far more often than I would like to admit. I would like to think that I have grown up, that I have learned something in my life to know how wrong this is, that the we as a people have learned how wrong this is, yet…I still hear the words of my father, when he said to me; just this past Tuesday; that his “neighborhood is being overrun by niggers”…
I was appalled. I wanted nothing more than to scream in his face, to ask him if he has learned nothing from life. Instead, I found myself rationalizing his behaivor by blaming his generation, by blaming the way he was brought up. But, I was brought up by him, so how do I know that this is wrong and he doesn’t?
Has he not learned to respect people, to treat everyone as a human being deserving of respect, regardless of what makes them who they are?
Now, I look down at my baby girl, hoping that she will not learn this hatred from him, that she will learn to love her fellow beings, that someday, she can carry on the mission of peace between the races, and eventually peace between the nations…
It is obvious that those who currently run our country have not learned to respect others. They wage wars, illegal wars, wars based on greed and hatred, claiming to spread democracy throughout the world. Yet, how can we force our ideals on others and call it a mission of freedom? How can freedom come from the barrel of a scared kid’s M16; a kid who is being taught not to respect those whose country he’s “fighting for”?
I find myself boiling over with hatred for those in power, this administration. Does this make me less of a human being? Can I be someone who hopes for peace, yet feels hatred towards my fellow humans, even if they are evil to the core? Am I rationalizing my hatred the way a racist, a sexist, a homophobe rationalizes their hatreds? I would like to believe the answer is no, but how can I be sure….
So, I find that, while I believe we should respect eachother, at the same time, I find that this may not be possible in all cases.
But what about love?
Isn’t love powerful enough to move us forward, to bring about peace?
I sure as hell hope so, ’cause right now, it seems like all I got to give….