POEM: A Rude Invitation

is an invitation
To more
And a rude invitation at that
Such invitations need not be returned
As you might have guest

begets violence.  Means produce ends.  How can we escape this vicious cycle?  Must we accept every invitation offered to us?  Do we possess the to decline an invitation?  Or, does violence rob us of any of responding nonviolently?  There is little question that violence demands a response!  Returning violence for violence seems to be the first responder, but rather than only creates more victims and a cascade of .  We need to look beyond our first, most base, response.  Otherwise, violence becomes enacted in our lives as a .  If was wrong, and peace is not possible, then defines both our means and our ends.  I believe peace is possible.  To practice making this a I simply rule out violence as a legitimate means.  Once violence is ruled out, then begins.  By setting a boundary disallowing violence on my part, I create the conditions where I must find alternatives, creative alternatives.  Many are uncomfortable with such a pacifist practice because they don't want to what might possibly be a legitimate practice of violence.  Though perhaps most importantly, disarming oneself may be way too dangerous too oneself and much too much for most.  Nonetheless, my is that a working assumption of violence as a last resort, is largely a wholesale of invitations to violence.  As a classic example, the so-called Just Theory, in practice better resembles the It's Just a Theory!  In fact, no nation has ever declared its assent to the just war principles, let alone that they have met them.  The powerful emotional response to violence is too closely linked to a similar, if not more-so, violent response.  is simply too often too difficult to reign back in once violence is chosen.  is the prudent path.  As far as violence goes, which is routinely too far, we shouldn't even go down that path — don't even go there!  War, the grossest manifestation of violence on our planet, requires demonizing entire populations and groups of people to be “successfully” waged.  Preying on the epic human weaknesses of , parochial , and unjust gain fuel the engines of war.  Channeling the outrageousness of violence into long-term, creative responses strikes me as the way, and the goal, out of unending violence.  Channeling the emotions stirred when confronting outrageous injustices should stir a deep commitment to , as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (of which the United States of has never ratified).  Such a commitment to universal propels the to challenge nations to higher standards than the wholesale violation of that is war.  If we fail at this challenge, and refuse to return the invitations to war, then war will persist, as you will have guest.

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