You may remember sucking your thumb or not going to bed when asked and hearing your folks or a relative say, “the Boogieman is going to get you.” For years, we have been treated like kids by a faction of elected officials who have ridden the wave of fear, militarization and pseudo patriotism into office.
Sitting in my kitchen over lunch watching a leader of the free world choose peace over war was a defining moment for the Obama Administration. You see, there are no Boogiemen; they are a fiction of the twisted imagination of those who would exploit their own country for aggression, greed, power and money.
Even before the President’s press conference to address the issues surrounding the Iran nuclear weapons deal, angry F-bombs were being directed at the historic agreement. It was no surprise when one conservative lawmaker called the freshly inked accord a disaster for the American people. Then the reporter did her job and asked this Congressman if he had read the mere 159-page document. The answer was no.
Six world powers, not all US allies, representing a majority of the planet’s population, have agreed to give peace a chance. It is the first glimmer of hope for billions of a new generation entering the world.
Leaders of our Congress are angry because we are choosing diplomacy over war. The President raised a very important point. If Iran reneges on its word to uphold this accord, we are no further behind than we have been for years, with the exception that we will have gained great insight into Iran’s nuclear programs because the deal allows us inspections.
What opponents of this President have always feared is that somehow he might make the Boogieman go away. He might lay bare the hypocrisy of patriotic rhetoric being used as a cynical front, while throwing America into a deficit spiral. He might patiently work to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price by ensuring that no more American lives will be wasted if diplomacy can save them and their families from enormous tragedy.
Many scoffed at the Nobel Committee when Obama was awarded the Peace Prize. Since that moment, this awardee did what he said he would do and worked to earn the honor.
Diplomacy and not war is a very noble ambition. It takes an extremely strong and moral character to demonstrate to the world that we are a people who honor humanity with our actions. There is nothing weak about one who works hard to better the human condition. That person is a rare one indeed who, despite insurmountable odds, figures out a way to lead and do the right thing.
We will long remember 2015 for the change that began to inspire Americans and a watching world. The fifty years of freezing Cuba has begun to thaw. People are allowed to marry whom they love. Our nation has started a long overdue conversation about healing lingering wounds from our civil war. We are talking about a way out of having kids incarcerated for non-violent crimes, left to rot in prison or die on our streets. We are shrinking the national debt and calling on those who would prefer a classist society to pay for the good graces this nation affords. We are cooperating to clean up the Earth. And, we are bringing light to the dark place of political deal making, cronyism and affronts to representative democracy by those who feel entitled to buy or rig the game.
Oh, it’s not all done yet. But we are feeling proud about what change can bring. We are sensing that fear of the Boogieman was never a good thing.
I could fill a room with speeches and quotes about peace; they all seem somewhat empty when real acts in real time by a peacemaker hit home. But, let’s choose one by Aristotle that fits this moment well. “It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace.”
Peace through diplomacy and not war. Now, that’s something worth shouting about.
The Peace Man