BY SHARON MARTIN
Marauding Buddhist monks terrorize citizens in Myanmar. Buddhists, for heaven’s sake! An avowed Christian kills three at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Two Christian patriots blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City. Hindus and Muslims clash. Israelis and Palestinians deny each other their humanity and common ancestry. Men who have subverted Islam kill followers of their own prophet. It is hard to believe that every one of these religions has some form of the golden rule in its sacred text.
What makes some true believers work for peace while others strap on the vest? Why do followers of Trump and Cruz and most of the GOP lineup glorify war? Is it DNA or personal choice that determines our path?
Whichever it is, the last Republican debate was a shout out to our baser instincts. We know we’re in trouble when Rand Paul, who espouses Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness, is the voice of reason.
Maybe we see and hear too much. Videos, photographs, talk shows, and one-liners stir us up. Pundits and politicians know what they’re doing. They prefer passions to logic.
Stalin knew how easy it was to sway the masses. “You only have to make them believe they are under attack,” he said.
One attack leads to another, tit for tat. Extended wars brought down the Roman Empire. It can bring down our mighty nation. War brings great profit to a few, but there is nothing left for the average citizen or even the returning warriors when all the bills are paid.
War does not bring peace. Didn’t World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and every war after not teach us anything?
War does not save lives. What are the lives of 4,000 American soldiers worth? What about the 100,000 Iraqis, both civilian and military? We killed more Iraqis than Saddam ever did. Is there any question why the survivors are angry? We destabilized a secular country and set the current troubles into motion. Now we must deal with the rebels we created and armed.
Denigrating all Muslims for the actions of the extremists isn’t the answer. Neither is ignoring the plight of the refugees who are running from the extremists.
During this season of peace, I pray we say no to the fear mongers and the haters. As Howard Zinn said, “How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer