Jun. 26, 2020
Hey cool human!
Before we dive in to this week's post, I'd like to bring your attention to this here link:
If you click it you shall be transported directly to Narnia.
No, sorry. I misplaced that link. This is a different one - my bad.
If you click it you'll get to see my guest post for Acacia Mitchell, which is even better.
In all seriousness, I am geniunely proud of this post. (:
Okay, on with the show!
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
Any smart kid would say "infinity more wishes" right off the bat. Any kid who wants to look good to everybody else would say, "We-e-ell, world peace, of course."
World peace has always been that seemingly unattainable wish whispered into dandelions and the ears of big blue genies. It's never felt real. It's never been something that could actually happen.
...wrong. There are actual, concrete, practical ways to promote world peace.
And today we're going to learn them. But first, let's discuss the history of peace movements, and what we can take away from it.
#1) Learn from the past
What do Quakers, Albert Einstein and Woodstock have in common?
They were notable for their anti-war stances.
In a world obsessed with war, peace activists throughout history have been singled out, called strange or, in our country, anti-American.
But they had the courage to stand up for what they believed in. And if they could do it, you can too.
Here are just some of the stories of historical figures who gave their lives to the cause of peace.
Historical peace movements have often been frowned upon, or even seen as revolutionary. The term "historic peace churches" refers to the church of the Brethern, the Quakers, and the Mennonites (including Amish). The term has been used since a conference of the three churches in 1935.
The historic peace churches have advocated for nonviolence since their inception. The Quakers were renowned for being the first corporate body to fully condemn the abhorrent practice of British and North American chattel slavery. Quaker anti-slavery sentiment began in the 1600s, a radical opposition to the prevailing attitudes of the time.
(A Quaker meeting place)
Believing in peace at all costs has often got the historic peace churches into hot water. The peace churches believe in healing all wounds caused by war, without taking sides. For example, Quakers refuse to serve in the military, which in Britain caused them to pay a fine. On the other side of the pond, when the Quakers sent food to the North Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War, they were called hostile to the U.S.A.
In the 1600s, William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, opposed the anti-Native-American attitudes of the time. He insisted they be paid fairly for their land and created Penn's treaty, one of the few treaties between settlers and natives that was never unjustly broken.
In the 1800s, Brit William Wilberforce opposed the British involvement in the French Revolution, claiming peace and Christian brotherhood were essential to maintain. Wilberforce was a devout Christian in a time when religious enthusiasm was shameful and stigmatized. He was also prominent abolitonist. As a member of Parliament, he fought against the slave trade for twenty years before the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which made slavery illegal in the U.K. This was fifty-eight years before America outlawed slavery with the 13th Amendment.
Later, British women would form their own societies called Olive Leaf Circles, groups of 15-20 women that gathered to discuss pacifist ideas. One such woman was Elizabeth Pease Nichol, a member of a historic peace church. She was a supporter of abolition and Temperance. Temperance is an oft-forgotten or dismissed peace movement.
In the 1900s, a newly industrialised world led to rampant alcholism and severe domestic abuse. During this time, women began to rise up and find their voices. The Temperance movement to ban alchohol is often dismissed as silly or ridiculous, especially after the U.S.' disastrous attempt at Prohibition.
But the Temperance movement was really women's way of wanting to be free and live safe lives. Temperance was seen as progressive during this time, and it tied hand in hand with women's suffrage. Mothers and their children were deeply harmed by alchohol abuse. Temperance came it a time when women were first allowed to speak up. It was one of their first ever chances to change something that was important to them. The movement was supported by many prominent suffragists like Amelia Bloomer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. These women saw the movement to be their religious and moral duty. They wanted to protect children and women like themselves.
(Amelia Bloomer, one of the first women to wear pants, also a Temperance activist)
Moving on to World War II era Germany. During the Third Reich's reign, people with pacifist ideals were often imprisoned in concentration camps. Refusing to serve in the Nazi military resulted in death. This didn't stop people like Carl von Ossietzsky, a 1935 Nobel Peace Prize recipient who died in the Esterwegen camp, or Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian farmer and conscientious objector who was executed in 1943 and later became a Catholic saint.
During World War II America, people who resisted the draft spent a lot of time in prison. Pacifist leaders such as Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker's Movement, urged the nation's youth not to enlist. After Truman's momentous decision to drop the atomic bomb, anti-nuclear protests erupted everywhere. The Anti-Nuclear movement swept across the world. One figurehead for this was Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who died of cancer ten years after the bombing of Hiroshima. A statue of Sadako now stands in the Hiroshima Peace Park.
(Sadako Sasaki at Seattle Peace Park)
And of course, in the 1960s, there were hippies. Some of you may even have been one, or known them! Hippies were the youth counterculture at the time. A counterculture is just like it sounds - a way of life that runs against the social norm. Enormous protests against the Vietnam War took over America.
And it wasn't just hippies. A large group of Vietnam veterans, returned home early, protested against the horrors and injustices they'd seen in Vietnam. They were called the VVAW, or the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
One of the biggest VVAW protests was carried out in front of the White House. Veterans threw their medals earned in combat back, saying they didn't want them anymore. They didn't want to be proud of what those medals stood for - what they believed to be a useless war made of useless death.
Regardless of if you believe wars are a necessary or not, you can find ways to live out peace in your own life.
Throughout history all these people were motivated by an intrinisic desire for world peace. For all people to live in harmony with each other. It may seem impossible, but take courage and strength from the legacy of these people. Let their passion fuel yours.
Some - the Quakers, Wilberforce, etc. - were driven by their faith. Others, like Susan B. Anthony or the VVAW, threw their energy in politics. Wherever and why-ever you choose to amplify peace, let it be for the right reasons.
And let your own life be a guideline for others.
Here are 9 ways you can live a life that marches towards world peace. For real! It doesn't have to be an empty pipe dream.
#2) Nix the red-blue division
I believe this is the "radical idea" for our modern times. In the 1800s it was abolition; in the 1960s it was "make love, not war,"; in the 2020s it's "Accept that others believe different than you."
Don't throw all your loyalties behind one party. Make sure to evaluate and think critically about political leaders say. Be a free thinker. Decide for YOURSELF - ask, "Do I really believe this, or do I only believe it because I'm *insert political affiliation*?" The political dividing lines in this country are doing nothing to make it a more peaceful world. Try and support causes that unify rather than divide. And being unified doesn't mean you have to agree. It sometimes means you agree...to disagree.
#3) Think before you post
This goes without saying. If a social media post is inflammatory or just meant to start an argument... don't click "Tweet". However, if the post is genuinely to bring attention to something you believe in, that's fine. Just don't post deliberately to start trouble. Internet flame wars are literally impossible to win anyway. Ask psychologists.
Ok, yeah, I love SciShow. This is my blog. I can post what I want (;
#4) Put your heart where your mouth is
Basically, make sure you actually believe in what you say you believe in. Evaluate your heart and decide for yourself. It's so easy to say you believe X, Y or Z because your sister/best friend/uncle/favorite celeb believes X, Y or Z. But take the extra effort to figure it out on our own.
#5) Be kind to the vulnerable and different
The homeless. Those with disabilities. Disadvantaged children. People with a different skin color than you, different religion, different political beliefs. It doesn't matter who they are. Be kind to them. Kindness is peace's foundation. Don't assume the worst about your fellow humans. We're all just trying to make the best life that we can.
#6) Be a good steward of the Earth
Living peacefully doesn't just mean with other humans. Make your best efforts to live sustainably so this beautiful Earth is around for future generations. I have a lot of trouble with this one. I take SUPER LONG showers because I get SUPER DISTRACTED TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE MEANING OF LIFE. Have you ever checked out the Shower Thoughts twitter page?
I'm not alone here. But If I want to live sustainably I gotta work on focusing. No more Shower Thoughts. Shampoo, conditioner, done - out in a minute. Simple stuff helps live in peace with the Earth. Like, don't litter, and don't use your car when you could walk or bike. It's the little things, people!! (:
#7) Love your enemies
As Jesus said, "Love your enemies, and be good to those who hate you." This is probably one of the hardest instructions in Scripture. Being nice to people who aren't-so-nice to me is something I struggle with.
E.G. yesterday I was at Lowes and a random dude made fun of my mom, my sister and I for wearing face masks. My mind immediately surged with hateful, snarky comments about this guy. And I felt SOOO obnoxiously superior.
But I don't know his story. I don't know what drove him to say those mean things. I'm trying to turn the other cheek. It's super difficult. Sometimes vengeance is kinda fun! And sometimes, I'll admit it, like I said sometimes it's fun to feel superior. But I'm not. I'm just a person. I'm not any better or any worse than anybody else. And I have no right to be acting like I am.
Part of my blog's mission is vulnerability. I want to air out my flaws like dirty laundry so you feel less alone. Cause pretending to be perfect is harmful. So this is the truth: I don't always -actually I hardly ever - love my enemies. I have mean thoughts. I rarely do good to those who hate me. But I can try to do better next time.
#8) Speak up
Do you see injustice in your community? Are there wrongs that need to be righted? Channel the spirit of 19th-century-women-who-are-finally-allowed-to-speak-their-mind. Pretend it's the dawn of a new century and you're thrilled because YOU can actually make a difference, something that was impossible to your mother. Pretend you're a child who thinks, "Duh racism is wrong," and also cares deeply about endangered animals. Pretend right and wrong are obvious. And speak your mind.
#9) Believe that it is possible
"Believe in yourself. I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it's true." - the LEGO movie
Don't be disheartened that it's already 2020 and we're still fighting like cavemen. Be a rational optimist! Be a cat on a cat poster and believe in yourself!
#10) Support those that support others
Finally, if you have the resources, throw your finances behind people working for peace. Two of my favorite, and lesser known, organizations are NEDA and Whole Family Care.
Whole Family Care works with low income single parent families and provides FREE, yep, FREE childcare to them. The pandemic wiped out many of their resources at a time when single parents are struggling more than ever. I invite you to consider donating to Whole Family Care to aid the vulnerable in our community. Their work is extremely important.
Secondly, NEDA works to provide resources to those struggling with eating disorders, some of the most stigmatized and misunderstood conditions. Once again, the pandemic shattered this non profit's resources. If you want to support mental health and life-saving helpline services consider donating to NEDA. It doesn't take much to fund their helpline for hundreds of people.
In summary, you, yes you, can promote world peace. It may flip your world upside down but it's all for the best (:
SOURCES aka Further Reading aka Fall down an internet rabbit hole with me
https://web.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/speccoll/quakersandslavery/primary_sources/index.php (Quakers and Abolition)
(Vietnam Veterans Against the War)
(William Penn and the Natives of Pennsylvania)
(Olive Leaf Circles)
(Carl von Ossietzky)
(The Vietnam War, Ken Burns)