Thursday, April 10, 2008

Soldiers are not the enemy, our fears are

Fellow Americans,

It seems that we are always at war. Whether it is war between countries or within oneself, it is always there. War does not have one meaning in our lives. It is not completely dark or light, it is an in between. Ellie Wiesel reminds us that war is the homestead of indifference, "a strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil." It is the twilight of human nature. One moment, we are honoring the dead and living soldiers, and in the next, they become as untouchable as our enemies. Why does this happen? Why are we so afraid to embrace our soldiers that they become outsiders, the aliens of our country? There must be a reason that we treat our soldiers and the way we converse about war with such indifference. Perhaps, it is simpler to pretend that soldiers are heartless, killing machines because then, they wouldn't be like us. We fear realizing that we are more alike than we are different. If we really get to the root, we would see that war thrives off of this fear.

Living a life that is not driven by freedom may be one of the most underlying fears of humanity. As a result of this fear, our instincts tell us to fight. We often try to overcome this urge, but it is the inability to conquer our fear of containment that keeps us from ending war. It is possible that humans may never be able to fully disregard the fear that keeps them from embracing others, namely soldiers. Doesn't this seem backward? If our freedom is the most important, shouldn't we honor those who fight for it? In a way, we may feel that we are fighting for freedom but are failing to recognize the error of our assumptions. At some point, we need to understand that fighting to not become a soldier is not what keeps us free. If anything, we become trapped by our fears. We do not allow ourselves to know other people, and we loose the freedom we so heartily coveted. We loose the ability to recognize the true freedom that arises from having a vulnerable tolerance. Therefore, let us not become subdued to think that true acceptance may never be possible but understand that tolerance is crucial.

With hope,
Amanda Cox

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