This I Believe

Jim - Surfside, Florida
Entered on July 3, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: peace, war

I believe peace is possible, and not just for our current wars but possible for all future generations also; possible through a political change, possible by correcting a basic injustice. Don’t assume I’m some scholarly academic, I’m not, or a religious zealot, I’m not; I’m just a pretty regular guy, a television director actually, please don’t hold that against me. My father planted this seed in my mind and he was a career United States Marine.

My father was a Marine Corps. Colonel, a Naval Academy graduate who became a “rocket scientist” in the 60’s, a man who designed guided missiles. I loved and respected him without limit while the inherent violence of his calling has caused me much confusion and soul searching.

When I was fifteen my rock and roll attitude set me at odds with my father who, while lecturing me on responsibility, told me about his responsibilities as a military man, shocking me into awareness with the statement that, “…his job was to kill people, so that I could be free to do what I wanted”. His job was defending America and in order to do so, his patriotic duty required that he kill other men. I actually don’t question the need for men like my father, threats surround us. However, my father’s tirade has stayed with me always, demanding that I contemplate the reasons those threats exist and why men and governments make war.

What is it we can’t’ seem to avoid? Is there something inherently violent in our nature or do our cultures, the majority of cultures around the world indoctrinate us so that we allow war to be an acceptable option? I don’t think it’s in our nature, in fact just the opposite.

I believe to break the endless cycle of violence we must end a pervasive bigotry. It is not racial bigotry… it is the global discrimination against, and oppression of women. Thousands of years, and I do mean thousands of years of patriarchy, both cultural and religious, have oppressed women and prevented them from having an equal role in governing. This oppression, this controlling, this exploitation has suppressed humanity’s greatest reservoir of love and compassion. The pervasive oppression of women denies us the benefit of their strength and their wisdom. It has historically denied them their right to have an equal voice in all of our affairs, including choosing war over peace.

I believe we must empower women with permanent, equal status in governing. It may be that only at this moment in history, through our democracy that this is possible. We must require that half of all government officials be women. If a man holds the office for a prescribed term, the next official must be a woman. At any given time half of all officials, in all branches of government, note all branches, must be women.

Within the scope of this short essay I can’t present all the arguments, possibilities, variations, and explanations for this idea. Fundamentally I want to see a partnership. The partnership of the two most basic elements of our society, men and women, resting on a vision of balance and universal equality.

With equality of representation of women in government, I believe, peace is possible.