Be About Peace?


It was 2002. My brother was overseas fighting in the Iraq war so I tied a yellow ribbon around the dogwood tree in my front yard. Numerous yellow ribbons adorned trees on the other side of town where the houses were smaller and nestled closer together. My side favored "Be About Peace" lawn placards, displayed for guaranteed visibility in the middle of large, perfectly landscaped yards. There was a certain smugness behind the fact of these signs, as if the owners thought they were above all this violence nonsense. 
“Be About Peace” is for people who let others fight their battles for them.
We are violence innate and there are times I wonder how the world — how people — keep it together as well as we do. We're all hanging by a dangling thread with a scissor within snipping distance intent on cutting through our lifelines.
I think it’s because we all want to be right. We cozy up with our beliefs and opinions and, before we know it, we're so comfortable they become our personal easy chair. Lean back, put your feet up, turn on the telly and you never have to think again.
It's my way or the highway.
I love peace. I work towards peace even when I'm driving and somebody screams an obscenity at me for cutting in after I realize I'm not in the right lane. I don't scream back. It was my mistake for God's sake. And, we all make them.
When you figure out it's okay to be wrong, you can be right and keep it to yourself.
However, moments arise when my fight-or-flight instinct overpowers me. When I stow peace under the seat where it's out of sight. Hidden from view. Like that time, must have been around 1990, when I was walking down 3rd Avenue in the East Village in New York City and a random man called me an asshole for bumping into him. Peace may have urged me to ignore him but peace was under the seat so I shot back, "you're the asshole" to which he volleyed, "no, you're the asshole" and I screamed, "no, man, YOU are the asshole," and so on. 
We were both hell-bent on having the last word. He stayed put. I kept walking. It was a long block but sound can only travel so far.