Why I Celebrate Peace and Love Instead of Independence Day
Imagine all the people, living life in peace. ~ Imagine by John Lennon
I was 8 years old when I heard John Lennon was assassinated.
I felt the weight of sadness so many held in their hearts.
I was messed up drunk in a bar 20 years later. I looked up at TV footage of his commemoration and broke down and bawled in front of everyone. My heart broke again.
Why did his death have such a profound effect on me and countless others?
He appealed to many as a singer and spokesperson for love and peace. His music and his activism spoke to an ideal he believed could happen.
Can’t we all just get along? He pleaded. Then he proceeded to share a message of love and peace all over the world. He didn’t just talk about peace, he lived it. He personified it.
All we are saying is give peace a chance. War is over, if you want it. ~ John Lennon & Yoko Ono
John and Yoko inundated everyone with peace. They used their fame to spread goodness and light. They placed huge signs with the above quote all over the place. They talked about peace in bed, on their honeymoon, when the media invaded their personal space.
The message is simple.
Stop fighting and love each other.
We don’t need military efforts. We need peacemaking efforts.
We don’t need protection from other countries. We need protection from ourselves. And it doesn’t necessitate violence.
When a friend proudly announces their adult child signed up for the military, I’m confused.
They’re presumably kind hearted, peaceful people, yet willing to condone violence in the name of “protection.”
People join the armed forces because they’re afraid. Because they think being a hero means you have to be right. US culture assumes our rightness.
We think we know better than other cultures, that we can solve their problems. With guns. With bombs. By terrorizing them into changing their behavior.
Our fear dictates these kinds of choices. We’re afraid that the angry people will come for our families. That they’ll kill us. So we kill their people. It’s insane.
Our fear of harm clouds reason. We need to focus on our mental and emotional wellbeing, and that means we have to stop the fight.
Mother Teresa refused to participate in anti-war protests. She would walk for peace, however.
She dedicated her life to loving others. She gave all her energy to embodying peace.
Whenever she traveled, she refused luxurious accommodations. She opted instead to sleep beside those who suffered in the streets.
Speaking to the power of empathy, she said she needed to feel what they experienced in order to best be of service to them.
That’s an ideal we can all strive for.
Then there’s the importance of boundaries.
We all have them, but the US has forgotten how to handle boundaries on an national and global level. We get up in everyone’s business and assume we know what’s best for them. We create more walls instead of building bridges.
Let’s consider again what it’s like to set limits on a personal level.
We can lovingly set boundaries then let go of the outcomes. If someone won’t respect a boundary, we can disengage.
The same is true for another country. They need to handle their business and have their own consequences.
Sometimes we help the most when we allow someone the dignity to solve their own problems.
Stop. Breathe. Let Go. You can’t make peace with a closed fist.
Fighting for peace is completely irrational and perpetuates more fear and violence.
If we view a worldwide war problem as a troubled relationship, would you threaten to beat the crap out them to get your needs met?
And would you stay with anyone who threatens you? I certainly hope not.
Violence is never a viable solution to beat the crap out of someone to get your way. Try another way.
While we are having this conversation, let’s talk about the Fourth of July.
I never consented to M-80s and gunshots from my neighbor’s yard. How is that supposed to be a celebration of independence? That’s more like display of self-centered arrogance.
No one asked how I felt about continuous loud noises for hours while my young children sleep and I jump, re-traumatized every time I hear a boom.
Shooting off loud fireworks next to your neighbor is violent.
When Fourth of July celebrations in cities and towns include legal personal fireworks, they disregard the needs of several groups.
Those affected are in vulnerable populations: highly sensitive people, neurodivergent folks like those of us on the autism spectrum, veterans, any marginalized group, animals, and young children.
For most of us disturbed, fireworks trigger symptoms of PTSD and cause more harm than some realize. It’s one thing to light up a sparkler, quite another to shoot off guns and explosives.
Please remember that when thinking of how much fun it might be for you. It isn’t fun for all of us.
The history and symbolism of July 4th is violent.
The Declaration of Independence doesn’t include all Americans. All MEN are created equal. But what about women? How about black and brown people?
Although “men” was often used a a gender neutral expression, it isn’t inclusive of everyone.
Women weren’t mentioned. Indigenous people were discarded. Anyone thought of as “inferior” weren’t included. If you’re gay, I guess you don’t get independence either.
These leaders were all white men. They thought women and people of color didn’t deserve to have the same rights because they were considered “less than” a white male.
According to this document, independence in America isn’t available to everyone. So why would I want to celebrate? As a self-identified pansexual woman, I’m not included.
Why celebrate, when the Declaration ignores the rights of entire groups of Americans? Mistreatment is not cause for celebration. It’s tragic. It’s all about superiority and nationalism.
Why give our energy to all of that? Deep down, I believe we all would rather not fight. Most of us want inclusivity and peace for all.
We are all here together. We have plenty of love to share. Let’s do that instead.
Let’s give all of our energy to peace and interdependence.
With all that time and money spent on fighting, we could build bridges instead of walls. We could lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. We could possibly live in a peaceful utopia you know we all crave.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. ~ Imagine by John Lennon
Interdependence means we rely on and care for each other in our global community. We engage in peaceful negotiation so everyone gets what they need.
We establish firm boundaries without bulldozing over others or depriving them of much needed lessons. We practice loving kindness and compassion.
When we decide to approach conflict with intent on peaceful resolution, we focus on connection.
We’re all connected. Why not come together in peace and love?
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~Mother Teresa
Check out my personal blog at gratefulx365.wordpress.com