Yesterday, I had the chance to see Shane Claiborne and Ben Cohen present a bit about Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream. I agreed with almost all they said. Mostly about the US spending significantly more on military spending than education, headstart programs, poverty alleviation, veteran’s affairs and healthcare, combined. It is about redistribution of wealth. And it is about the federal budget being a moral document.
I wrote this more than a year ago (October 2010 or so) because it was what I was feeling. And it is still what I believe. It is also easier to repost than write too much the way my head is spinning right now.
Lately, I have been meditating that we are in the midst of a war. Not a spiritual or financial one, although we can all argue that is true. I am talking about the “killing other humans for the defense of our nation or gain” type of war. One of the reasons I have been meditating on this is that I tend to always side with a non-violent solution and sometimes wonder if I am right or not.
Most likely, I became non-violent after the one and only fight in my life. When I decided to try and be tough and call a black belt in karate a name he didn’t appreciate. It wasn’t in a dojo, but in the locker room after gym class in 6th grade. It did not end well, but very bloodily, or last long after a flying drop kick bent my nose in a way it did not like. At that moment, I realized some words have power… and angry feet have more.
A couple weekends ago, I went to a conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And shockingly I learned a lot of facts I didn’t know before. Like the Israeli State was a dream for over 50 years before it happened, and there were some back handed deals that secured the land for the Israelis after World War II. I heard from people who while in the region witnessed daily killings, deaths, and lacks. Lacks of medical care, lacks of freedoms, lacks of respect…a lack of humanity.
People were treated as less than human. Residents have trash thrown on them, aren’t allowed to tend their fields because of the massive wall, and kids aren’t allowed to go to the hospital for dialysis because of checkpoint clearance. All on land that their great, great grandfather plowed and tended and was their inheritance until a generation ago.
It all seems to be because of disrespect of one people over another. Power and manipulation of one people over another. Manipulation by a people that were previously manipulated. Which is war, correct?
Then I started thinking about the fact the country I live in, am a citizen of, pay taxes to, hold a passport of…is at war. The plural of war. An 8 year old and a 9 year old war. That we may or may not be winning or losing, depending on the day and your news source. And yet I can’t think of anyone in my circle that acts like we are at war. We aren’t saving money. Or living off rations. Or working together or tying a yellow ribbon or… (fill in the blank).
Occasionally I still see a yellow or camo magnet ribbon on a car’s gas cap door (a little ironic). But more often now those are either faded and cracked or for autism or the local Catholic school.
Do I care?
I am looking to buy a house, not scared of losing my roof. I am counting on working in a high rise building downtown for the next few years, not worried that being in a 24 story building might be dangerous. I eat most meals out because I “don’t have food in the house” and am expecting a paycheck next year. Not preparing for the stores to be bombed and to have to find nutrition. Shouldn’t I be worried about survival if we are at war? Or should I be building a five year budget that includes pay raises, houses, cars, travel, children and spouses?
Is it just me? Or is that part of the American dream? To live like tomorrow will be there? And to ignore things outside our immediate borders? Isn’t that the power abuse and manipulation that is bad?