From our hearth to yours, Peace on Earth, is my most heartfelt, holiday greeting
Told through the eyes of my childhood hero... Snoopy
To my TAT readers,
First and foremost, please bear with me on the Charlie Brown and Snoopy graphics… I am a lifelong devotee. This won’t be my last post of the year, but like most, family, friends and activities will make for less time available, including a far more chaotic schedule than my normal, self-imposed chaos. Mrs. C. is substitute-teaching at the school around the corner, marking the last day of school and the normal beginning of our holiday madness.
Few holiday greetings and wishes mean more to old soldiers, than Peace on Earth. This year, even more than my two consecutive holiday season combat tours, have I have been more invested in peace. This will not be a history of holiday traditions or a list of global conflicts and other moral injury, but a simple, possibly meandering musing, revolving around the intent of seasonal traditions and religious beliefs that gives us our moral code, meaning to our lives and generally in pursuit of salvation.
Like my father was, I am deeply interested in, read and study, history, religious studies and government. Collectively, these interests and a newfound addition to these passions, philosophy, have provided me with an ever-evolving, more moral worldview. This worldview is what drives me to take on difficult subjects on TAT, and daily work towards a more moral world that operates on the highest moral principles, of all of the recognized belief systems.
In my travels, often over my military career to places under duress from a wide variety of challenges, from war, to drought, disaster, famine, economic deprivation, brutal oppression or abuse, I have seen humanity at its best and… worst. Tragically, the best is often missing from our headlines but it actually exists, and in far greater substance and depth, than the worst. We are all capable of being the proverbial “White Knight” defending good over evil, by doing small, simple acts of kindness, daily.
The extremists of all faiths, use religion to divide and dishonestly acquire power, therefore undermining the morality and social well-being that is the intent of all religious or moral, belief systems. This is quite literally, the tails wagging the dogs, in an ever more tragic, downward spiral, for everyone touched by their inhumanity. This is what punctuates our headlines today. Ukraine, Israel, China, N. Korea, Myanmar, India, Russia, Sudan, Ethiopia, etc., including yes, here in the US.
Those who know me well, have heard one of my most common utterances, when exasperated by someone, some nation, or movement, abusively attempting to impose their rigid, immoral ideology or theology on their innocent victims.
“All around the world, men and women want the same thing; to have food for their family, a roof over their head, safety from natural and man-made suffering, and to dance at their children’s weddings.” - Cobaugh
For example, China and Russia are not only large-scale genocidal nations, and no different than the intended genocides that are the focus of terrorist organizations, but also run harshly abusive “re-education” operations as part of their cultural and actual genocides. Nothing could be further from the intent of morality, in both cases. Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian terrorism is based on a genocidal approach to Judaism, WCN/ White Christian Nationalism is the antithesis of Christianity and Modi’s Hindutva, the same. These are just a handful of the evils dominating our headlines.
Today, as I celebrate everyone’s pursuit of the common human needs in my quote, my hopes, wishes and prayers are for everyone that pursues the morality that their religious beliefs provide a roadmap for, will find a way to contribute to those basic human needs. Since human needs are common to us all, every belief system that is moral, also supports, embracing love, respect and compassion for everyone. Certainly, it requires all human beings to work specifically towards such, by having the courage to act on the morality their beliefs challenge them to live up to. Another favorite perspective that I share with both of my Midwestern, common-sense and extraordinarily ethical parents, is that “truth is what people, governments and movements do… not what they say.”
The immoral and horrific suffering imposed on our fellow humans, would decrease dramatically if all of us, would build our moral courage into willingness to act on the highest moral values of our respective religious beliefs. Please, always remember that there is far more good in the world than bad. Every human being that offers a little more moral support for humanity in general, contributes to the swelling of collective goodness that is a most powerful force, capable of changing our headlines from war to peace, famine to food on the table, security for our families, a place to live and the most delightful, to dance at our children’s weddings.
It is not uncommon for me, to shed a tear or two wishing and praying for peace. They are tears of joy, and sadness. A personal part of my yearly prayers for peace, include a small but important additional wish, “that next year, the tears of joy will fill an ocean and of sadness, a puddle.”
From our hearth to yours, the very warmest of wishes for your traditions and celebrations, and that the new year, brings everyone, peace, warmth and love.
Happy holidays Merry Christmas Happy Chanukah Happy Kwanza Happy New Year Warm wishes for Winter Solstice… and the countless other greetings around the world, that brighten everyone’s holiday season.