Peddling Peace

Outside my window, light fades on another Memorial Day in the good, old USA. For some of us this day has been the impetus for gatherings, grilling, and the like. Others, have dealt with more horror than holiday, revisiting memories, casualties of war, which forever change lives.

For many generations my family has escaped the worst, fortunate to have our military members return unscathed—at least from outward appearances. Me, well I’m a peacenik, not exactly surprising of an author, filling my slot as the stereotype which includes artists, actors, academicians, and the host of liberal arts graduates. Little did I know, decades past, sitting in my Latin Literature in Translation class, that ‘liberal’ would become a slur to millions, reduced to the likes of a four-letter word in the coming millennium.

We’re a warring nation. I get it. Weapons manufacturing, all sorts of armaments, are the industry keeping us solvent as a country. Not my mission to change the minds of the fervent, those who ‘love the smell of napalm in the morning’ (google it if you don’t know). My question is, at what point did we give up on the possibility of peace?

Start small, maybe a national holiday—Imagine Peace Day. Too much? You say it would make us look weak around the world? Or that the slightest nod to peace dishonors the sacrifice of our fallen? If those be the primary objections, I am not prepared to argue against such stabs at logic.

When I became old enough to traipse around Main Street unaccompanied by parents, I did lots of window shopping at a store which featured trendy items, 1960s items, and not vintage at the time. For whatever reason I became enamored with the peace sign in its many configurations. And more than any item in the window, I lusted after an embroidered patch featuring a caricature of then Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew, his right hand held high, fingers arranged in the iconic peace message. Not that I had any particular place for my mom to stitch the patch, I simply had to have it.

That fascination with peace symbols can be witnessed on my Pinterest page, where a board dedicated to ‘Peace, Please’ contains more than three thousand images. Somehow, I cannot satiate my appetite for not only the imagery, but also the hope for peace, despite human proclivity for fighting. Most disturbing to me is the thought that peace may not be given even cursory consideration by sizable groups of warmongering fellow humans, the might-makes-right set.

Who knows, maybe diplomacy will make a comeback. Maybe we will regain admiration for thoughtful government officials who resolve differences with words. But the bigger obstacle to overcome: Can Hollywood figure out a way to glorify the wisdom of dialogue and peaceful accord on the screen, selling civility at the box office? Cue in the dramatic music as the cameras zoom in to show a vast delegation of world leaders, pens in hand, set to sign an international peace agreement.

It could happen. Right?