Planning for Peace

“We must use our minds as rigorously to plan for peace as we have used them to plan for war.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

War rages across our planet. It feels like war may consume us all. In many ways it already has.

Most of us maintain a physical distance from the battlefields. None of us, it seems, are emotionally or psychologically safe.

And, why should we be?

Our globalized, televised world brings violence and hatred from afar into our homes, into our pockets in seconds. Even if the fighting is overseas, it can feel so near. So within.

Because it is. We’ve internalized war. War is normalized. In early education we study war in history and culture. Sometimes, we lament war. Other times, we glorify war. War is in our social media feed. War is even on TV in our hospitals where people are meant to be healing. Regardless of who is presenting war, we are learning war.

By learning war, whether we intend to or not, we plan for war.

This is okay; as long as we have invested equal time, energy, and resources into planning for peace. It doesn’t take an army general or a peace teacher to see we as a society have not planned as equally for peace as we have for war: more guns than people in America, conflict-covering news cycles, a polarized media and political climate, active fights over the foundation of our democracy, active fights over what is taught in our schools, extremely violent video games (for kids!), and unprecedented rates of diseases of despair throughout our youth and adults.

While conflict is inevitable, war is not.

How do we prevent conflicts from escalating into violence? How do we avoid war?

How do you plan for peace? What is peace?

I will do my best to address these queries in future writing. In the meantime, reflect on what peace means to you.

Written by Elie Goldman