Friday, March 13, 2015

The Peace Lantern

"Peace Lantern"
Japanese Tea Garden
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

"This 9,000 pound bronze lantern was purchased with contributions from
school children of Japan as a symbol of friendship to the United States.
Yasusuke Katsuno, the Japanese Consul General, formally presented the
Peace Lantern on January 8th, 1953. The gift was a commemoration of the 
US Japanese peace treaty signed in San Francisco in 1951."

~Inscription In The Peace Lantern Plaque 

 Diplomacy As An Abstract Thought

"An eye for an eye will only make the world blind."

~Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, September 10th, 2001, was a very good day. Except for the six weeks or so, immediately following September 11th, when I noticed people saying please and thank you more often. People not only stopped cutting others off in traffic, but would safely pause to let folks in front of them! I remember more smiles and eye contact, and little courtesies like folks helping me get the bread down from the top shelf at the store. A small gesture for them, sometimes the world for me. America was one, and the world understood our grief, and shared our sorrow. But I suppose all the good will wasn't sustainable. Little by little, not only did the selfish and greedy return to their ways, the previously content among us, found an inner bitterness that perhaps they never knew existed. In the last 15 years, incidents of road rage has increased, and now there is an official term for the mean folks that yell at us on social media for having a different opinion then their own, it's called Internet Rage.

I don't know about you, but I need to get off the hate superhighway at the end of the day if I can. I need to turn off the social media, unplug from the 24 hour news cycle, and pretend Sarah Palin, and her hateful buddies are really just living in a fucked up snow globe owned by some grouchy kid somewhere. Yeah, I didn't seem very peaceful just then, did I? Well, this week, especially I guess, I am not. I could give you a list of what's bothering me, but if you know me at all, you probably already know most of it. Frustration over politics. Injustice in Ferguson, Missouri. Fear of international terrorism. You get it, it's probably the same things bothering you. I am really bothered and things only seem to be getting worse, and the most frustrating part is... they don't have to. I am watching America throw away it's common sense, and it breaks my heart. Some days I feel like saying FUCK IT THEN, JUST GO AHEAD AND PRESS THE FUCKING BUTTON ALREADY. But then, invariably, I will have someone come at me on social media, loaded for bear, asking me how I can feel the way I do about something? To which, all I can do is thoughtfully explain my explanation and my position. 

Sometimes that's all that's needed. The "Internet Trolls" reveal themselves to just be folks as frustrated as I am, looking for answers. It's hard in the moment to not want to strike back, but a compassionate answer to someone who is lost, really does work. I wish the GOP understood diplomacy is not an abstract notion, it's a tried and true method that when used in a genuine method, can yield great peace. I don't think ISIS would have any of it, but then you have to remember where their barbaric regime began... the years following an illegal, unnecessary war in Iraq, and the destabilization of the middle east. Hatred for a handful terrorists, and our own politicians who LET our lives change on 9/11 and since. America is so different now, then when I was a child. I never, ever, thought in my fifties I would be sitting up, late at night, worried about the things I worry about. Hell, when I was a child, a republican president, through diplomacy, opened us up to relations with China, and we were safer for it. When did diplomacy, as a mean to protect the United States, both on the world stage, and right here on our own soil, become a tool to be mocked? 

Mood: Frustrated

~Me :)


No comments: