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Violence is Suicide: (I’d rather stand in front of guns than behind the people holding them)

By Billy | December 17, 2009

No, I will not support the troops. Not by clicking that link, not by wearing a red shirt, not by joining your facebook group. In fact, I don’t support your troops at all.

I don’t care who they are. Even if they were my brother, my father, my grandfather, my cousin, my uncle, my neighbor, or my friend.  I do, let me clarify, support my brother, my father, my grandfather, my cousins, my uncles, my neighbors, and my friends. These become something else when they strap on those boots and pick up those guns. (To clarify, my brother, father, grandfather,and some cousins, uncles, neighbors, and friends are, in fact, in the military. This is not a far removed subject from me.)

You’re fighting for my freedom to write and speak as I wish? I didn’t ask you to. If I didn’t have it this way, I’d go and “fight” for myself in my own, nonviolent, way. It’s rather unempowering for you to fight my fight in ways I don’t agree with; representing me without my consent.

You’re fighting to keep the peace? Using weapons as instruments of peace makes as much sense as using instruments as weapons of war. You’re going to get yourself a lot of attention and in the end be completely ineffective. Look at the roots of this dis-ease: colonialism, capitalism, greed. Greed denies how utterly vital we are to each other. Greed denies the importance of the OTHER. Greed makes the other fearful, as we strive to serve ourselves.

Greed >> Colonialism >> World War 1 >> World War 2 >> Cold War >> Middle East >> _______?

What am I missing? Who is to be the bigger one and play the “weaker” role of cessation? It might not be fair that we have to bend for someone in the wrong. It is simply our duty.
Respect the patriot who will kill for their country?
How about we respect the human who is willing to die for a possibility of lasting peace.
In Hebrew, the word for Peace is Shalom. This word, Shalom, not accidentally, also means Complete. Peace is stillness. Peace is a unit. Peace is solid.

Fighting will leave things broken. Violence and Peace are incompatible. Any “peace” we create with violence will be tentative, distrusting, shaky, and incomplete.

I’m not about to toss a bucket of blood on the president and I’m not exactly a big proponent of bombing military gatherings in the the Weather Underground style “peace” tactics. Insult is division. Insult denies the importance of the other. Insult and subversion chip away at that Complete Shalom I am longing for. I love the human disguised as “an American soldier.” I love the human disguised as “a Terrorist.” I would die for them to be happy — to have a chance for Shalom to enter their life.

People. Friends of mine, humans I’ll never know, me. We turn to things when we are scared, confused, hurt. We pick up habits, addictions, false comforts. We onlookers love the addict and don’t like so much the drug. We forgive backslides, we encourage cessation.

It is easy to feel for the physical victims of violence — the child with cigarette burns given to him by angry parents, the person covering up the black eye with makeup in the bathroom, the innocent who is falsely accused.

It comes more slowly, more painfully, more deliberately to feel for the “victimizer,” who is, in fact, hurting, scared, confused. (Human) [Victim]

They are addicted (dependent to the point of hurting themselves or others) to these false sources of comfort. They feel justified (perhaps even, only momentarily) enough to do the things they do. They are seeking Shalom just like you. You can’t make them change the way they act — you can only with great effort change the way YOU act.

Real Peace is contagious. Real Peace is solid enough to allow those without enough Shalom in their lives to lean, seek shelter, find support. This sort of Peace is bigger than you and me, and the more Completion and Peace you find, the easier that is to deal with. (It is not always easy to take the blows and continue smiling. It’s not always easy to love the person beating you. As Peace enters your being, it comes easier.)

No. I won’t support your troops. I will strive to find Shalom as truly as possible, and I will support Life. I will only continue to learn how to embody Peace. I will close my eyes and sing songs of freedom in the face of the corrupt/confused [government]. I will sing Hallelujah running barefoot and sky clad up mountains, I will chain myself to the gates of the oppression factories.

This is what I mean when I hold my two fingers up in a peace sign. This is what I mean when I say to you, Shalom Aleichem,
Peace be upon you.
שלום עליכם

Topics: Philosophy, This is my life | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Violence is Suicide: (I’d rather stand in front of guns than behind the people holding them)”

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    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:34 am

    […] Maybe you’re curious about my overarching views on violence.  Maybe. […]