Another way we cloud reality is with glitz. We give out pencils and lanyards. Use catchy commercials that promise you hero status. Nab the troubled ones or poor ones and promise them a better life. Hinge it all on the future we’re gambling with.
We’ll mask guilt with pride and terrorism with honor. Ignore PTSD and growing violence. Cheer when it’s over and bear it again. We’ve made this bed; now we, and our children, have to lay in it. I hope we can endure this night and wake up in the morning’s light.
It’s the power of names and faces that force us to humanize. Personification is cringe-worthy in warfare. As soon as people begin to view missions as murder, the army would lose steam. Healthy people wouldn’t support killing a fellow human, but give out army wristbands at parades and people’ll wear them with pride. Your place of birth doesn’t give you the right to kill another human anymore than it gives another human the right to kill you.
Perfection may be unattainable and no one has all the answers. But the lack of a better solution is not justification. Our species has enough problems without us pitting against each other and slaughtering one another. I’m not anti-U.S. or against our allies. I’m loyal to the interconnected web of life of which we are all a part. Who fights for them? I pledge my allegiance to the earth and all the living things who call her home.
Katherine Ahearn is a junior at Unatego Junior-Senior High School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.