Just Plain Foolish

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

Monday, January 22, 2007

A simple request

I do not think anyone reading this blog could possibly mistake me for a supporter of this war. It is difficult to imagine someone having more than about five minutes' conversation with me and making such a mistake. Which is why I was confused yesterday.

As my husband and I left our neighborhood supermarket with our bags of soup and sandwich fixin's, we were approached by a woman with an armful of fliers. Okay - that happens reasonably often in our neighborhood. Turns out she was from a group organizing a peace march in DC and was asking us to show up. Nearly the first thing out of my mouth was "We're going" despite the fact that I don't like crowds, noise, or other stuff that usually gives introverts like me hives, and usually that is the very stuff of marches. But this is important, and I can cope with crowds for a few hours, even if afterwards all I want is a long, quiet, very hot bath.

Why, then, did she feel the need to further convince us? Yes, I'm willing to go. Yes, I've been writing letters, signing petitions, and otherwise exercising my First Amendment rights. I've also been trying to address the fear in this country in my own ways, telling stories and explaining history, telling jokes, and being calm and peaceful in places that we've been told to be afraid in.* But this was not enough for her. When my husband made a comment that did not strike her as sufficiently doctrinaire, she snapped a correction at him.


My request is this: we are working for peace. Can we please keep in mind that as important as this is, we need to act peacefully ourselves? Our message of peace can be strong without this kind of thing, and in fact, would be stronger if we were to show that we have internalized our message and, as Arlo Guthrie once said "done for ourselves what we want to do for the rest of the world".

It is still very important to reach out to those who are so motivated by fear that they see no other options. I hate this war from the bottom of my soul, but I don't want to be in a place of hate. I want to show others the hope of peace, that there is another way to address fear. And that includes folks who support this war. Most are just afraid. Snapping at each other is no way to address that fear.

* It amazes me how much it actually does just to be cheerful and calm in difficult circumstances. As my family stood outside the hotel after the earthquake in Hawaii, several other people came over to ask us how often we got these. The assumption seemed to be that because we were calm and trying to help other people as best we could as we came down the stairs, and later remained optimistic, we must be locals. Similarly, my habit of bringing crafting materials whenever I have to go into an airport has given me wonderful opportunities to reach out to my fellow passengers.

Labels: ,


Blogger Little Black Car said...

Never underestimate the power of nonviolent communication.

I know that sounds warm-fuzzy and saccharine, but it's true.

1/22/2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger Don said...

You've done it again. Hit the nail on the head and you did it well. It's hard not be for something without being against something else, but you're managing well. The world needs more of you. Please don't get discouraged. Keep up the good work. I like your contact Congress link. I think I'll add one myself. Peace.:-)Don

1/22/2007 2:05 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I think what got me about this was that we'd already said we were going - and this is a significant thing for both of us, as we are both pretty serious lovers of peace and quiet. My husband has been known to joke that he's probably half hobbit.

I'd even said something like "My dad's in theatre; we'll go." And then my husband said something about Congress having the power to stop this, which is when she stepped further into our personal space, making us both uncomfortable, and snapped at him something to the effect that Congress abused its authority before and we'd better *make* them do right and bring back our young people.

Frankly, I want this war over so badly it isn't funny, but I don't want to run into this woman again, mainly because I don't like people in my face and I don't like to be snapped at. I'd infinitely prefer to Also, this constant reference to soldiers as "young people" bothers me, as y'all know, since I know that so many of our soldiers, and particularly our National Guardsmen are not particularly young.

And this simply reminded me of the importance of being calm and peaceful while promoting peace.

1/22/2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

oops. I meant to say, I'd infinitely prefer to deal with someone trying to sell me on their version of God, since they're usually reasonably nice while doing so. There are door-to-door missionaries in my building who seem to be very nice people. And none of them have ever snapped at me, despite the fact that I don't agree with them.

1/22/2007 3:05 PM  
Blogger CML said...

My point, at the time, was that I looked forward to getting COngress of its duff & remember that only *it* has the power to declare war, & I got barraged...

1/22/2007 4:27 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home