Over the past few years, I’ve started thinking like a pacifist. I’m not sure why, exactly. I can’t think of any particular influence or any organized effort. I’ve just been gradually seeing the shortcomings of military/colonial efforts, and some of the sensibility of nonviolence.
Living near DC has helped me to think through this stuff. I guess being on the pointy end of a terrorist threat will do that– on 9-11, our apartment shook and I watched the Pentagon burn from the roof. One of our neighbors who was stationed at the Pentagon sprinted down the hall to barely escape the flames. I saw troops and military vehicles on the streets, and watched people buy up all of the duct tape and plastic and water as we feared subsequent attacks. And yet I’ve never felt comfortable with our military actions in the middle east, especially when we do them in the name of ‘safety’ and ‘justice’.
But I gotta say, my fledgling pacifism took a pounding a couple of weeks ago. We visited the Holocaust memorial in Boston, and it was harrowing to consider the willful, naked evil of which we humans are capable. When such hatred and evil gets a foothold, I wonder, what possible remedy is there but force? If I ever participated in such systematic torture and sadistic cruelty, I hope someone would stop me with whatever means necessary.