Sometimes I hear something so dumb that it stops me cold. Today, I was listening to the National Public Radio. Now, there are no NPR stations in the greater Junebug Holler metropolitan area. So, I have to listen on the internet. It's just as well because had I heard this on the car radio, I might have driven the Big Blue Wagon right off the road.
The story started innocently enough. It was about a small group of folks in Fairmont, Minnesota who belong to a Peace Club and how they who encouraged their city council to support a proposed federal Department of Peace.
As one club member put it, "I didn't think it was controversial. I thought everybody wanted peace." The city council agreed, voted to support the measure, and then all hell broke lose.
Local Vietnam vet Jerome Kortuem seemed to sum up the feeling of all those opposed. "I just couldn't believe it," Kortuem said. "These communists are trying to do it again."
Well, there you go. Peace equals communism. You can't argue with that logic. Anyway, you can read about the story and hear it as broadcast here. If you listen to the whole thing, what is surprising is the anger being expressed. It's hard to figure why peace would get folks so riled up, but it does.
I'm going to have to go ahead and play the "Jeebus" card here. I assume that most of these folks count themselves as good Christians, but maybe they have never heard him referred to as the "Prince of Peace." Maybe they never heard the expression "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Well, I could go on and on (and I often do), but I assume you get the point.
Now, here's what I figure. These folks identify themselves as being Americans. They associate themselves with all that America stands for, and one of the things that America stands for is strength. Having a Department of Peace sends the message that America might be willing to talk and to understand in addition to being willing to fight. A lot of folks don't want to see themselves that way. People who talk their way through conflict are weak, right? Or as Mr. Korteum put it, if we create a Department of Peace, we will become "a bunch of wusses."
So, maybe all this opposition to peace is really the result of a lack of self-esteem. Some folks just feel better thinking of themselves as fighters. I wouldn't know about that myself as I do not have a self-esteem problem. It is one of the benefits of being a damn genius. I enjoy the prospect of talking my way through conflict as my intelligence almost always gives me the upper hand. However, I can see where Mr. Korteum wouldn't want to engage in a battle of wits.
Stevie Joe Parker