A Peace Manifesto - Part I
It is dedicated to that 9th grader, who wrote, in a few lines of deeply resonating poetry, something I think our generation should listen to.
There is much talk in this world over what will define this age of human progress; which glorious slogan or title will define Today. The Internet Revolution. The War on Terrorism. Generation Next. Citizen/Networked Journalism and Blogging. Global Warming. Britney Spears et al.
But is that true? Is that what we want. Are these what we, as a generation, have decided shall define our days here on Earth? Or has this been projected, either by onlookers or even some of us actively deciding the fate and history of Us, We, The People of Tomorrow, The Youth of Today.
While terrible or terrific in their own rights, these are not the things our generation should be judged by. I will not – or simply CANNOT – allow my time here to be remembered by a war fraught with misunderstanding or a phenomenon of any type based on or in popular culture, and, while revolutions indeed, the proliferation of the internet and the rise in power of The Commons have not yet created the lasting effects of a magnitude I think we’re capable of.
The internet. Finally information is accessible by all, almost. But it still remains a venue through which people are oppressed and things can be withheld. Redirected traffic. Un-indexed sites. There is something underneath this beautiful idea of access which we still need to overcome.
But no one can take away your-our ability to spread peace to the environment directly around you-us. No one has the power to stop me from holding that elevator door open just a little longer for the other human approaching.
Within our small sphere of influence, no one can stop us from spreading peace.
I walk down the street, an act I’ve done in over 10 countries now, and see how quickly and universally a driver uses his horn to chastise a move he’s deemed inappropriate. But was it really that bad? Has he not done that as well; turned into the lane when he thought it was clear?
Even on a forum like TechCrunch, merely a source for Silicon Valley start-up news and developments, a vast majority of comments adorn every post with derisive and aggressive statements instead of insightful and constructive conversation.
And every day, customer service representatives, humans there to help us solve our problems, suffer personal attacks and angry, misplaced and unchecked aggression.
Politicians the world over spend millions, and sometimes billions, of dollars putting down and trashing others’ campaigns, ambitions, and values instead of building their own. When did we lose focus on what WE, as individuals-vessels-leaders are to instead focus on what others are not?
So it seems we have yet more work to do. Or perhaps we simply need to realign our focus as cohabitating humans to something a little… different. Just a bit.
I think we need to focus on Peace. The word. The idea. The slogan.
And make it something more. A movement. A cause. An end.
And make it measurable.
To some it’s a scary word and an even scarier idea, though I’m not sure why.
But it’s important enough for us to fight wars over. And generations before and likely generations after have and will write songs about it, give speeches on it, and legislate around it.
But prose and poetry is not enough for our generation. In this piece, I’m calling on our generation to Act On It...