Give Peace a Chance

Australian rainAll we are saying
Is Give Peace a Chance
–John Lennon

(Sept. 28) What’s wrong with being an aging hippy? The obvious answer is, “Who wants to be an aging anything?” I grew up in the 60s and 70s. I was a freshman in college when President Nixon sent the B-52 bombers to Cambodia. I participated in teach-ins, discussions, rallies and marches. Looking back, I would say, “It made a difference.” It made a difference in the U.S. with the withdrawal from Vietnam. And, it made a difference to inspire and enable other popular uprisings in Eastern Germany with the tearing down of the Wall and in eastern block countries like Czechoslovakia.

I spoke with a woman from Bali, Indonesia. In planning travel destinations, I have put some countries on the low priority list because of anti-American sentiment. Indonesia was one of them. I asked her about anti-American sentiment. She looked at me and considered my face. She correctly observed that I was white. She said people in Indonesia can’t tell the difference between Australians, Europeans or Americans. They have a word for white people, it’s the word for “Dutch,” the country that colonized Indonesia. As an American, I am concerned traveling the globe because of our current reputation.

Ultimately, I worry about America’s place in the world. As I think about world peace, I see history’s wealthiest and most powerful country, the last remaining “superpower,” as an obstacle to peace and prosperity. We, Americans, are the ones with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)–and we use them on a daily basis. Iraq and Afghanistan have daily mortalities; their local populations are living for years with the horror of war. We, Americans, spend billions of dollars for destruction of life and property. Thousands of young Americans, Iraquis and Afghanis are dead and each one leaves behind grieving families.

We, Americans, should be leaders in developing business and economic prosperity throughout the world. We should be forerunners in education, the arts, science and environmental protection. We should work toward food and health care for all. We should be the voice of peace and the catalyst for a new century of prosperity.

Let me be an aging hippy if that helps bring a little sense to the world.

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