Monday, October 16, 2006

Imagine All the People, Living Life In Peace

What if the United States chose to lead the way to a world free from the threat of the dreaded "weapons of mass destruction" by disarming and destroying it's considerable nuclear arsenal? There are some schools of thought that think this would be playing right into the hands of the terrorists who "hate our freedom". Others might say that our having nuclear weapons is the only deterrent to all out nuclear destruction by one of the world's other nuclear powers. I don't know about all that.

I think it's possible that countries that don't have the bomb would be in less of a hurry to get it if WE didn't have it. It's also possible that at least some of the other nuclear powers will follow our lead. Hell it's even possible that we really could disarm the world by leading the way. Maybe not, but who knows?

What if we chose to "stand down" our military not only in Iraq but all over the world. What if we said "we will not be an aggressor and we will not retaliate to attacks on our nation but instead will promote a world of peace and prosperity"? Would we be attacked immediately? Would the Taliban or al Queda rule our country by the end of the week. How much good could we do for our own country and the world with the billions of dollars that we currently spend on national defense?

I know that these questions are idyllic at best and dangerously naive at worst but, maybe what the world needs is for somebody to step up and take a chance. I'm not a Christian but, I was raised Catholic and I do know that the bible teaches us that retaliation is wrong. It teaches that we should "turn the other cheek" in the face of an aggressor. I AM a Buddhist and, for me, part of what Buddhism is about is wisdom and compassion. Compassion for both sides in a conflict and the wisdom to follow a path to peace. The wisdom to accept things as they are even though they are often not as we wish them to be.

I may be completely out of my mind but, I don't believe that refusing to engage in war would mean an end to our way of life. I am aware that there is evil in the world but I'm not entirely certain that the constant cycle of threat and aggression doesn't play a role in creating that evil. Would it be worth trying something dangerously crazy if it could lead to an end to the insanity of war?

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

from "Imagine" by John Lennon

1 comment:

Indeterminacy said...

Enjoyed this post and thought I'd share an Ohio memory with you from around 1981. In Southern Ohio, in Cincinnati I picked up my first pirate radio station on shortwave. It was called "The Propagation Station", a weak signal fading above and below the threshold of audibility. At one point they played "Imagine" and the mood of the simple message (in the sense of elegantly simple), weak, fading and requiring great imagination to separate from the noise of the ether. It somehow became more truthful, more powerful, more gripping. I've heard the song many times, but of all the times I heard it, this is the one time I remember specifically.