Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

WASHINGTON — Even as it pulls back from harsh interrogations and other sharply debated aspects of George W. Bush's “war on terrorism,” the Obama administration is quietly signaling continued support for other major elements of its predecessor’s approach to fighting Al Queda. That's from the New York Times last week - the lead sentence in a story published the morning after President Obama signed an order that commits 17,000 additional American military personnel to Afghanistan by early summer. Apparently we will hear from the President tomorrow on specifics of his plan to exit 19 months. Maybe there will be more said of Afghanistan. I am concerned. I am not an expert on Al Queda, the Taliban, or the tribal culture of Afghanistan. I am not a diplomat, an envoy, or a scholar on the subject of foreign affairs. I'm not sure I could accurately label a map of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq...although I've spent plenty of time looking at those maps for 6 years. I trust the President is consulting with qualified thinkers on creative strategies for our already declared war on terrorism. Clearly, I would not be one of those thinkers. I do hope he is also hearing the voices of the people who live in the "host" countries for our wars. Many of them believe the U.S. war on terror would be more appropriately called the U.S. reign of terror. I hope he's also listening to some mothers. Because we mothers don't believe our sons and daughters should be picking up weapons and aiming them at other mother's sons and daughters. We don't believe that violence for violence ever leads to anything good. And while we might be eager to yank a knot in the tail of a bully who pushes our kid around...we're more likely to call the child's mother and have a peace summit over coffee. I think a little time with Mr. Rogers would do everyone some good. If I had a chance, I'd sit all the king's horses and all the king's men down in front of a television, and play two minutes of Mr. Rogers' song: What do you do with the mad that you feel? Fast forward this YouTube treasure to 3:20 and soak up the Mr. Rogers Peace Vibe. Did you hear the kindergarten-easy wisdom? It's great to be able to stop when you've planned a thing that's wrong and do something else instead Stop. Is there something too simple about a plan to stop what's wrong? Just stop. Stop. Stop. And then we have resources to creatively make it a beautiful day in all of our neighborhoods. Ahhhh...peace.

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