Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Post Run Blathering Wherein I Write Until the Odor of My Running Shoes Overpowers Me

I've been frantically working on my project for the Research Symposium, where I will be presenting (and where I won the groovy Research Scholar award) and am fairly freaked out about the presentation. I want to do well, because Dr. C is going to be there, and so will a bunch of other people that I want to think I am a smartie, and who I really care what they think about me. I would rather not stand at the mike and say, "Duh" for ten minutes, ya know?

So I've been working on summing up my findings from my research and have discovered the following:

1. I am seeing Cindy Sheehan's activism in a new light
2. That's not a bad thing
3. I can still think that she's radically excellent
4. I'm still really, really pissed off at the Bush Administration

Maybe it's just me, but I spend a lot of time contemplating the way that things are these days. Maybe it is my recent Large Birthday (the one that rhymes with Lordy Lordy) or maybe it's just the way that my life has recently narrowed down to a very few, very important things...whatever the reason, I find myself asking questions like these:

Why are we so angry at each other, as citizens of the same planet, the same country, frequently the same neighborhood?

Why can we not see that others can feel strongly about something, and not be evil?

Why can't we get away from this stupid, pointless, ignorant binary way of thought? What is it that makes us want to see people as ones and zeros? If Cindy Sheehan is anti-war, does that make her bad? If someone else is in favor of the war, does that make her bad? No, it just makes us DIFFERENT, and yes, yes, I understand that we see different as bad - is that the base problem here? That we are so frightened of what is Other, what is Different, that we can't see past that?

Cindy Sheehan is a pacifist, and to those who are not pacifists, she is dangerous and wrong - there is no room for her to be a woman with a different opinion. If she doesn't fit into this neat cubbyhole, then she is in this other cubbyhole, the one that says "Enemy Combatant."

I am the mother of a soldier, and I am proud of him for what he is doing, the work he is doing on himself, and for others, and with others. If you could have known him (and many of you did) before he was in the Army, you would agree that he has changed, for the better, and he has changed a LOT. He is turning into his own person, rather than some carbon copy of his father or of me, or of his friends. TB is, simply put, himself. I am proud of him. I love him. I support him, and I pray for his safety every night, every day, all the time - it's like the Muzak you hear in the elevators or in the store. It's always there, just beneath your noticing, but it's always there. So how do I reconcile the part of me that is adamantly pacifist with the part of me that is proud of TB and his actions? I do it through my motherhood, my identity as a mother - I love my son, and I pray for his safety, but I pray for the sons and daughters of all those who have children in the military. I pray for the safety of anyone in harm's way during this war: "enemy combatant" or soldier, all are children of someone, and all are worthy of prayer.

My pride in TB and my worry for him aside, I pray for this stupid war to end soon, and I pray that someday we can see each other for something other than zeros and ones, hawks and doves, mothers or child-free, for us or against us, black or white.

I think I understand this confusion in myself a little better now, having read this. I have spent a lot of time wondering why it is that so much of the news on tv seems to follow the binary line of thinking, why things are the way they are now. That article seems to sum it all up for me pretty well, and makes it a little easier for me to understand for some reason.

Cognitive Dissonance, anyone?

1 Comments:

Blogger Ballpoint Wren said...

I think this political polarization has paralyzed our country. Both parties have become "Gotcha!" freaks. I see it in Daily Kos, too, and in Rush Limbaugh, and in left and right pundits all over the media.

And because of this polarization, we have two large groups of voters who are not supposed to see anything good in the other party, even when there IS something good in the other party.

This is why I am an independent. And while I try to understand other people's points of view, I do not tolerate violence against others, especially violence committed just because the victims had a different political/religious/whatever belief from the perpetrators.

Therefore, the Nazis are evil, the KKK is evil, and the people leaving dead Iraqis in ditches with holes drilled into their knee caps are evil. In my world view, evil must be stopped.

I am very glad we stopped the Nazis and I was glad when Clinton bombed those the Serbs in order to stop the massacre of Muslims in Bosnia. Those were evils that had to be stopped.

I wish we had done something to stop the death in Rwanda and I'm so frustrated that we're doing very little about Darfur. But there is so much evil in the world and we can't stop it all!

Sometimes violence is the only way to stop evil, because evil does not stop just because we ask it to. This is how I know I could never be a pacifist.

However, I'm not so arrogant to believe that everything a pacifist believes is wrong. And as much as I dislike the rantings of Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken, I concede that both have spoken the truth at times.

I hope our country can learn to see the good in the other party and work together in order to end this war quickly. However, I'm afraid if we leave too early we'll end up destroying Iraq and ultimately, allow those who so love to drill into knee caps to continue their work in the rest of the world.

4:53 PM  

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