Friday, November 10, 2006

Veterans Day

My new work place is very militarily focused, in stark contrast to my former work place where students would wear t-shirts on days the recruiters came to campus that said "Recruiters Lie." (Proof of this in the Goldie Hawn movie Private Benjamin) But here every month HR puts out a calendar with a picture of someone in the military and a caption that says "till he returns, " which makes me think of Jesus (and what He would do.) So today they sent out a collage with photos of veterans when they served and now. Some of them are kind of scary- with rifles- and others are the funny kind where you can immediately recognize the person of today because of one salient feature, or you can't recognize the person at all.
And while I respect veterans, because, after all, they are people, I have a hard time with all this hoo-haw war stuff and congratulations and "support the troops," with no mention of really supporting them and getting them back home.
The other day I was interviewing someone, and he talked about his time in Vietnam, and then my boss came in and they both started talking about Vietnam, and where they had been. Meanwhile, I cowered in my chair. Then I told them I am a pacifist. Luckily they are both grownups and could deal with that.
Today after that email, I got to thinking- Choosing to be a pacifist is not the easy road that people think it is. If you are really a pacifist, then you have to respond to everything in a peaceful way. That doesn't mean no response, or letting someone walk all over you. It means thinking creatively, out of the box, and then standing by your non-guns. So it's really harder, because if someone hits you, the easy response is to hit them back. And I'm a pacifist after being directly affected by civil war, which makes the choice even harder.
Another thing is, we support our troops as human beings if we don't require them to kill other people. Because in order to be able to kill other people they not only dehumanize the "other," they also dehumanize themselves. That goes along with an argument I heard against the death penalty. It's not that the other person may not deserve it, but it's wrong because the state forces another person, the executioner, to take a human life and therefore harms that person.

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