The Path of Peace and Understanding Through Chaos and Violence…

When I watch the news these days it seems that peace is something completely and utterly unattainable. There is so much hurt in the world right now. The news exhausts and pains me to watch, but I continue to do so to stay informed. In spite of the discomfort, I feel like it is important not to tune out or put my head in the sand as my demographic has for so long. The world truly is in the midst of chaos. We have elected officials that no longer serve the best interests of those who elected them. We have climate change and an unprecedented shift in wealth in favor of the already wealthy. People are becoming increasingly distant from one another and selfish. We have police officers killing the very people they are paid to protect. A collective rage is festering as years of racial and social inequality bubble to the surface. Cities are being lit on fire by the anger and the frustration of the oppressed and conflict has turned to violence. We often turn to violence to solve our problems, yet history tells us that the strongest forms of protest have always been peaceful. Martin Luther King Jr’s methodology from the beginning was peace. He got many of his ideas from Gandhi who also believed in pacifistic protest. The sacrifice for both of them is that they met the end of their lives by an assassin’s bullet. Even Malcolm X who was know to be more militant in his early years was gunned down when he changed his rhetoric to be more pacifistic. Gandhi once said of violence: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Violence begets violence. It allows people to continue to dehumanize each other. Only when one party breaks the pattern is there change. Often when one group does try to operate peacefully they are then gaslighted and goaded into further conflict by the oppressing group because as long as there is violence it is easy to create a narrative that invents excuses to continue the oppression and to further dehumanize the oppressed. Just like an abusive partner goads the other person into acting out so they can blame the other person for the problems in the relationship so is violence. Only when you have people like King and Gandhi surface who refuse to become violent do those attempting to subjugate others find themselves at a crossroads. They can no longer use violence to dehumanize the individual and they are forced into having to engage in a new pattern. One that forces them to look at the ones they once hated and see the humanity and pain in their eyes. At that point, the person engaged in pushing others down has to either face and embrace the fact that they are a monster or they must choose to grow and change their worldview through renewed understanding. Violence is never the way to go. If we simply will sit down and empathize with those who are perhaps less privileged than us and see the narrative of their existence as equal and as important as our own, we will begin to see new and lasting change. This is how ignorance and hate is conquered peacefully.-

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