I do not subscribe to the platitude that “everyone wants to get along with others.” I heard someone say this recently, but I don’t think so. At least not by my definition of “getting along.”
Some want to get along as long as they have control.
Some want to get along as long as they aren’t carrying the weight.
Some are in favor of peace so long as they don’t have to compromise.
From my experience, peace for those in control does not assure peace for those forced to submit. Peace and Oppression don’t lie in the same bed, or government, regardless of however much the Ruling Class thinks it does. This is why Republicans take their fight against Democrats (and vice versa) so seriously; this is the idea that motivated revolutionaries from Che Guevara to Samuel Adams.
I’ll try to make my point in this odd way: Let’s say an outdoor cat has found its way into an individual’s home. It heads straight for the sofa to stretch out and scratch its claws on something. The owner, being a bit perturbed about the unauthorized intruder, steps on the tail of the cat just in the nick of time to keep it from reaching the upholstery. We can imagine what comes next, right? The cat is berserk and is thrashing around! Now for the sake of the analogy, we’ll say that the owner was prepared for the fight and by some miracle manages to hold on. During the struggle, who has peace? Neither the oppressor nor the oppressed, obviously. But after some time the cat may calm down, due to fatigue or resignation. The fight is over, so now do we have peace in the home? I say no, because neither has freedom. Although both may be physically calm now, neither enjoys peace because they are both held captive. The cat by the boot on the tail, and the home owner by the fact that he can’t move his foot.
This is the World’s Model for Peace. It is certainly unfortunate. I would not suggest that this War Model is completely avoidable, but I strongly believe it is Mostly Avoidable.
What I’m suggesting is that Peace through Control is not peace at all. We fool ourselves to claim it is peace for even the controller. As long as the Ruler has to diligently maintain his control, he has no peace of mind. We are going about it all wrong. Majority Religion controlling minority religion; whites controlling blacks in one neighborhood while the reverse is true in another ‘hood; the wealthy controlling the poor, men controlling women, except when the tables are turned.
The War Model between Nations is the Litigation Model between smaller entities, is the the Bully Model or the Abuse Model among children, individuals, and families. Will it ever stop? Only when the guy with the boot on the cat’s tail understands that he can’t move his foot under the weight of this errant philosophy.
So what is my role? Am I to be part of the problem or the solution? I am a white, middle aged, hetero, christian male in the U.S. and yet I am personally not the person with my foot on anyone else. I advocate for the “cats” and I always have. But again, the “War Model” isn’t as effective as we would like. We must figure out how to change the system for seeking peace if we ever want to find a sustainable peace.
So I say let’s carefully move from “Pax Romana,” to “Pax Libertas.” (Pax Romana being peace gained through force and Pax Libertas being peace gained through freedom) Let’s try peace gained by intelligent discussion, negotiation, and assisted negotiation (mediation), rather than by partisan legislation, litigation and physical violence. It’s a crazy thought, I know, but history has shown us that consensual peace is the best kind.
As a matter of fact, it sounds funny to say it that way, doesn’t it? “Consensual peace” – as though there is, or could be, another kind. But this is the story we’ve been feeding minorities forever. We have insisted for centuries that that can be a peace forced upon us – like the cat with a boot on its tail.
Having been trained through hundreds of hours in secular and christian mediation, and having used it casually, professionally and in family issues, I am resolved to advocate for it as a means to peace. IMHO, we should be using mediation in legislatures for bill negotiation, it should be as common as litigation in courthouses, and conflict resolution should be taught at every level of education.
We need wholesale, systemic change if we want familial, racial, community, or national or international peace. If not, we are doing fine.
I give you Maslov’s Heirarchy. Try to figure out how to accomplish even the lowest levels without consensual, voluntary peace.