Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Friday, September 29, 2006

My previous post

I've been thinking on that post I made earlier this week, and realized that it was incomplete. Once, when I asserted that the only way I saw a possibility of bringing Bush to repentance was not to go on anti-Republican/Bush/neo-con/whatever diatribes, but to figure out how to call to that within Bush that knows what he's doing ain't right, I was informed that the last thing Quakers need is to become more mealy-mouthed.

First of all, um, while I am interested, and have attended Meeting, and am trying to be true to the Light which calls me, I am not in touch much with mainstream Quaker thought. (Hint: read my post in the first month I began writing this thing where I talk about heading off onto deer paths on a frequent basis. I'm not sure that my exclusive identification with any religious group would be good for either of us at this point in my life.)

Secondly, I don't think it's a weak position to be looking for the best way to engage with someone, to let them see my truth, and try to understand theirs, so that we both have a better understanding. Do we expect to change drug addicts by merely shouting at them that they are in the hands of Satan? Why then is this the approved way for power and oil addicts? *sigh* It doesn't work. If it did, I'm sure something would have changed by now.

I am angry, deeply so, as even the most superficial reading of my last post reveals. I am furious that my father is being sent to a war that our leadership puts so little faith in that they do not send their own kin. But I also know that until we can sit down with our neighbor, until we can understand how to reassure our neighbor (and that doesn't happen overnight, or without a whole lotta listenin' goin' on), until we can understand their fears, and they understand ours, there will be no peace.

Recently, I read Thud! by Terry Pratchett. The book is set in a fantasy world, where dwarfs and trolls have been at war for centuries, always hearking back to a battle long in the past where each side maintains the other set an ambush. A watch commander is concerned at the rising tension in his city, and ends up visiting a back room at the invitation of a troll, where he discovers dwarfs and trolls, peaceably playing games of Thud - a strategy game that requires one to be able to "think like the enemy" in order to succeed. The troll is hoping that the seed he is planting will germinate, and that the two groups will come in time to understand each other. In the end, the reader discovers that a previous such seed had already been planting during the mythical battle and that there is hope.

I would call on everyone who reads this to think deeply about what it means to love one's enemy, about what it means to call to redemption, about what it means to work for peace. And to rethink the timeframe. War and hostility are unlikely to die out in my lifetime, but shouldn't we be planting seeds now?


Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Oh, and to whomever it was (I've forgotten the details, frankly, having had other things on my mind since then) who said the last thing modern Quaker culture needs is more mealy-mouthedness or whatever...

Perhaps I, not a member of any Meeting, just trying to follow the path before me, have failed to live up to whatever cultural expectations were behind that statement. In that case, put the blame fully on me and not on any greater institution. I do not speak for anyone other than myself. What I say, I say from my own experience. I do not speak for Judaism, Christianity, Paganism, or any other formal creed. I do not speak for any of the regions, neighborhoods, or farms I have lived in, for any of the many congregations I have been a member of or even just attended, or even for my husband.

I just calls 'em as I sees 'em. You have been warned.

9/29/2006 1:38 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

This is a tangent, but for some reason this brought to mind the prison rehab programs I've heard about that have convicts training BLM mustangs in an effort to teach them patience, responsibility, and empathy. After all, you can't train an animal by beating it--it might obey, but it doesn't agree with you and it's going to kick you in the head the first chance it gets.

I don't think that's a weak position at all, and I think that the perception that it is (which seems to be a popular viewpoint these days) is one of most destructive aspects of the current American mindset. One of the reasons we got into this mess in the first place is that we/our government didn't try to understand the Middle East.

10/02/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I think rather than a tangent that it's a good illustration of the underlying principle. Which is better, addressing the skills and suchlike that people who've been convicted actually need in order to function, or throwing them into oppressive conditions that merely reinforce reliance on criminal gangs? In the same way, I think we need to look at Bush and co.'s actual needs and begin steering them down the road that will lead to them becoming productive members of society rather than their current warmongering status.

10/02/2006 5:47 PM  

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