This I Believe

Lawrence - Northstar, California
Entered on August 23, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: good & evil, war

I Believe that Life is Good

As the fifth anniversary of the “9/11” tragedy approaches, it is impossible for me as a grandfather, physician, Vietnam veteran, and Jew not to worry what the age of terrorism is about. Is this really a jihad? Or, is it something else?

While terrorism is a recurring aberration of human nature, global terrorism is new; and it comes at a time when its victims are particularly unprepared to defend themselves.

But why us; and why now?

The stark similarity among all terrorist victims is that we are free and prosperous. We have hope. Further, we have governments that help us maintain our dignity.

Terrorists, and societies where terrorism thrives, are without dignity or the vision of a better life. They have governments uncommitted to providing a culture of prosperity. Destroying that which taunts them is the terrorist’s false hope for inner peace.

But understanding the cause of terrorism is important only if it leads us to a lasting solution.

Free prosperous nations are, by their very nature, vulnerable to attack from authoritarian cultures. But a counter-attack does nothing to defeat terrorism’s root causes.

This is not to say that retaliation is unimportant. Yet, only a defensive war is justifiable; and then, only with victory. If we put our children in harm’s way we should do so with maximum support towards a just goal. It is irresponsible to plan for less.

The military events subsequent to 9/11 have made it clear: There is no safe or distant way to engage terrorists. We must meet them on their terms and be equal to them in determination and strategy.

Political solutions are of only intermediate significance. Changing or creating governments to better serve the lives of citizens is helpful only if these changes continue to be of, by, and, “…for the people.”

Freedom and prosperity (the cornerstones of hope) require a multigenerational mindset toward global peace; and therefore the key to long-term victory in this new world war must be socioeconomic.

It is the responsibility (and in the best interests) of the world’s Haves to actively help the Have-nots achieve enough education, health, and industry to cherish life and live in peace with their fellow humankind. Simply: If we help our enemies towards lives worth living, they will become our friends.

The major roadblock to global peace is failing to believe that helping our enemy helps us. Further, it is difficult to undertake an endeavor the results of which we will not know in our lifetime. Nonetheless, peace, love, and life are fundamental to our natural order and, in the long run, must be chosen over their opposites; or we will fail as a species.

If we truly want long-term freedom and peace we must chose to accept our differences. We must choose not to succumb to this culture of hate. We must acknowledge the world’s suffering; and help all human-kind realize the simple but profound reality that Life is Good.

This, I believe.