Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Celebrating the Peacemakers: A Suggestion

In the 1960s, young people protested requirements that they go to war.
For years, I have joined the voices calling for a celebration of those who have opposed war over the years, a sort of "Peace Day" that would rate as a national holiday, right in there with Veterans Day or Memorial Day. That hasn't come about and isn't likely to as long as our country is bogged in militarism, which supports our intensifying oligarchy, one often built on war.

A recent petition to the organizers of a 50-year commemoration of the Vietnam war noted that “no commemoration of the war in Vietnam can exclude the many thousands of veterans who opposed it, as well as the draft refusals of many thousands of young Americans, some at the cost of imprisonment or exile.” Some of the bravest people I've ever known effectively trashed their futures by publicly opposing an illegal, unjust and savage war against a primitive people. Same can be said for those who opposed our incursion into Iraq and several other adventures that were designed to benefit big business.

Our country--and many others--have made war appealing to those who've never been. They give medals and create bronze statues to those who fight. They sing songs and write books and movies about their "heroics." Rarely are the peacemakers celebrated in that fashion and I think it's about time we did that. Make peace as appealing as war--moreso, I'd prefer--and perhaps we'd have fewer wars and a more prosperous population.

Author Adam Hochschild makes that argument in this piece on the Huffington Post. I'd love to see his suggestions adopted as policy. I don't expect that to happen in my lifetime, but every good idea starts somewhere.

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