On this Memorial Day, here in the US, I am always torn between honoring our veterans and detesting war and all it does to our soldiers. I have this thing of seeing situations from at least two angles at the same time.
At my heart, I define war as what happens when people give up on peaceful communication. It’s what we do when we’ve tried to resolve things using diplomacy and economic sanctions, and nothing is working. The larger part of my heart defines war as a failure in some way. It needlessly kills people; both civilian and military. People die.
The cynical part of me sees war as a big machine that keeps rolling along because people get rich off of it. If there were no profit in war, it wouldn’t happen. We go to war in the Middle East because there is oil there. Despite atrocious human rights violations and genocide in other areas of the planet, because there is no economic profit, we leave those areas alone.
When I think back to our more recent World Wars, I realize that we had to go to war to prevent a massive imbalance of power on the planet. An entire planet ruled by one giant dictatorship wouldn’t work. Past experience has shown that as much as the idea of a benevolent leader who takes care of their followers sounds nice on paper, the reality hasn’t matched up. And even though our political system of Democracy in action is far from perfect, the principles upon which it was founded are good ones.
I also like the principles of Communism, although the reality of it is a bit too far from its principles.
As a mother, I see the huge power all mothers have in shaping the future of our country. Raising the consciousness of our children has always been parent’s job first because children’s world views are shaped by what happens at home. The more we raise our children to understand people’s feelings and emotions, teach them how to work with people, how to communicate, and how to negotiate, the less our children will need to resort to using war to solve world problems.
And when we learn as a community, as a country, as a planet, that war begins in our hearts far before it rolls out on any battlefield, we will become more mindful of how we raise our children and how to heal broken hearts and minds.
On today, this Memorial Day, I honor those warriors whose death was purposeful, and my prayers are that we learn to heal our hearts so war won’t need to happen in the first place.