In a terrifying world, answers are not easy
They’re having a peace march in San Francisco. The buses leave from Nevada City early Saturday morning. We were invited to go. It sounds inviting. After all, we certainly want peace, not war. But something bothers me. It just isn’t as simple as that.
I cannot forget how America and England did nothing as Hitler built up his war machine. If we had acted decisively and stopped Germany from rearming in blatant violation of treaties they had signed, a world war could have been avoided and millions of lives could have been saved. To march down Main Street, shouting “Peace, peace,” while a tyrant builds weapons of mass destruction and prepares for war plays right into the tyrant’s hands.
On the other hand, Bush’s hell-bent rush to war with Iraq is equally troubling, for I also remember in the ’50s when many people with the same mind-set were advocating that we should drop atom bombs on China and destroy them before they could became a Communist threat. Thank goodness, cooler heads prevailed, and what could easily have become World War III was averted.
In light of Bush’s very different policy when dealing with North Korea rather than Iraq, what is the message we now send to the world?
That America will make war on tyrants who are weak, but appease tyrants who are strong and menacing?
What, then, can we ordinary citizens do when our lives, and the lives of our children, are buffeted by these forces over which we seem to have little or no control? Perhaps I would feel better if I could march down Main Street with a sign that said neither “Peace” nor “War”, but “Think!”
Ultimately, we must accept the fact that in this complicated and terrifying world, there are no simple answers. It serves no purpose to demean liberals as “peaceniks” and conservatives as “warmongers.” What is needed is carefully considered dialogue, not only with our enemies, but most importantly, amongst ourselves.
Hank Starr is a divorce lawyer who lives and practices in Nevada City.
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