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a few thoughts i typed out on my phone at 3 AM, in the dark and quiet
as someone whose politics lean left, i have, at times in my life, prided myself on my ability to appreciate the nuances of complicated situations. yes, i have been an insufferable, teeth-sucking know-it-all who has preached, to anyone who could stand it, about moral relativism. in that worldview, which i have soaked in like it was a hot tub, there is no black or white, no us or them, only endless deserts of gray. I was younger then.
i do not hold many binaries sacred, and i do believe that right and wrong do depend on perspectives and circumstances and the twin suffocating pressures of culture and history. but as i sit here, rapidly hurtling through mid-life, feeling like i know less than i did when i thought i knew so much, i am surprised to discover a conviction that exists beyond any kind of context.
there is one binary that i cannot rationalize away and that is, simply: there is peace or there is war, and you cannot be for both at the same time. you can try? but i think being honest with oneself is liberating.
are there times when war is unavoidable? sure, yes, absolutely. but even in those instances, even while fighting a ruthless, sadistic enemy like the nazis, the innocent will die. murder is murder to the dead. those grandmothers and teenagers and bakers and dentists who burned in dresden and nagasaki and the jews who perished in those camps, they just wanted to live their lives but no, they had to be sacrificed, tens of millions, countless children and fathers and aunts who never forget birthdays, they have to be eviscerated and machine-gunned and crushed, every year, over and over, and for what reasons? real estate? bragging rights? my god won? my flag is prettier? violence not only begets violence, but it is also a great and terrible flattener during war, the good guys become the bad guys and vice versa and the battlefield is a butcher’s floor covered in gore and whose guts belong in whose belly? no one knows.
you can be for peace or you can be for war and if you are for peace then you will surely lose, you will go to your grave having witnessed atrocity after atrocity, the world will continue to eat itself as the dirt is shoveled on your coffin. there will never be peace in our time, it is a futile pursuit, and you should never give up that desire, that dream, it is the only…