A few years ago, I attended a two-week training course that the Army calls SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention). There was one area in which they provided statistics and then explained what the Army’s “goals” are as far as reducing sexual harassment and assault. The number they gave was 50%.
Being the inquisitive person I am, I raised my hand and I asked, “Why is that number 50%? Why is it not 100%?” Well I was looked at as the most ignorant person in the room. It was bad enough that the instructor sort of chuckled a bit at my question, but then a lieutenant colonel classmate raised his hand to answer, very condescendingly, “because 100% isn’t realistic.”
Clearly, they misunderstood my point.
Sexual harassment and assault are a big problem in the Army (of course, elsewhere as well). It is obviously not “realistic” that it would be brought completely to an end in a short period of time. However, my question wasn’t about whether or not it could happen; it was about the Army’s “goal.” Why was only a 50% reduction an acceptable goal? So if sexual crimes are reduced by half from one year to the next, should we call that success? How about for the victims? Should they be happy to know that they were sexually assaulted in some way and our goal was to reduce the chances of it happening by 50%? Would that make them feel better?
My issue with this is simple: The goal should be 100%. Period. Whether it happens or not isn’t the point. The point is that if we’re going to preach “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment and assault, we should at least aim to catch everyone. No one climbs a mountain and says, “Well, I only plan on climbing halfway, because the top isn’t realistic.” They shoot for the top, whether they actually make it there or not.
Also, this goal is “not realistic” says whom? Who decides what’s realistic and what isn’t?
That’s like if a homeowner puts a sign on their lawn that says, “If you break into this house, I will shoot 50% of you who do so.” Then another homeowner has a sign that says, “I will shoot everyone who looks to break into my home.” Which sounds more threatening and is more likely to deter? It doesn’t matter whether 100% will happen. Just the idea that the homeowner will aim to shoot everyone will be enough. I truly believe that. You choose to break into someone’s home in which they’re announcing that their goal is 50%, I’d say those are decent odds for a burglar.
So…what exactly does this have to do with peace on earth and Christmas?
I am a 36-year-old man. I am not the least bit ashamed to say that I do wish for world peace. Again, I didn’t ask whether it’s “realistic” or not. I still wish for it, because I truly do believe it is possible, especially when seeing how people behave on Christmas. It is what I feel is an attainable “goal” and something very worth shooting for.
It’s sad to me how some people treat each other throughout the year. I’m not saying anything epic by stating that people can be quite nasty to each other on a constant basis. Yet, on Christmas, folks are completely different. Many are a lot more polite with each other. They’re even this way with people they don’t know. In general, just from what I’ve noticed, society’s attitudes as a whole are a little better on Christmas than other days. This is even the portion of the year folks can find time to visit with their families and be somehow cordial toward each other.
So here’s my question: If it can happen on Christmas, why not other days throughout the year? It’s not as if it’s not possible; it happened on this day.
“The Wire” is one of my all-time favorite television shows. On the show, a drug dealer makes mention of the “Sunday Truce,” which basically just means that those at war with each other basically just chill for that day. Growing up in the city that show takes place in (Baltimore City), I’ve never known that this exists. But if it does, again…if it can stop for that day, why not on other days as well? When a person like me comes along as says, “The goal to stop drug trafficking should be 100%,” why am I looked at as naive? I know exactly what I’m saying.
It’s also like those people who claim that they have to curse, yet on Sunday or in church or what-have-you, they’re able to stop themselves from doing so. So that basically says that you do have the ability to stop. So why cut it out on Sunday, but not the other days also? Of course, stupid me comes along as says that if a person really wanted to stop cursing, especially when they’re able to stop under certain circumstances, then I won’t believe that it’s impossible for them to stop all together.
My point is that way too often, the ability is there. The possibility exists. Yet, we’ve reached a point in life where we feel it just isn’t possible or even “realistic.”
Say something like “world peace” and naturally, people want to laugh. Especially at me; how can a 36-year-old black man from Baltimore City who has been an Army soldier for more than 18 years old and has deployed to combat zones three times have the nerve to utter the words “world peace”? How ridiculous!
Is it? Or are YOU the ridiculous one in having been brainwashed to believe that it isn’t possible?
Anyone who has achieved a big dream of theirs surely at one point has told themselves that it wouldn’t happen. Even when they started to believe in it, I’m sure many other people told them that it “wasn’t realistic” to expect them to achieve whatever the dream was. Yet, the dream happened. Look at the small number of professional actors and actresses who exist in Hollywood. How about professional athletes? Every one of them at some point was probably told that what they were shooting for was not realistic. Yet, here they are.
So am I really that naive to believe that world peace isn’t possible?
The concept of “world peace” is a wimpy concept to a lot of people. Some believe that only hippies would wish for it to happen. That really doesn’t make sense to me.
One big reason I believe world peace is truly attainable is because of how we are all born. No one is born hating another person; all that behavior is taught. The only way I will ever believe that world peace “isn’t realistic” is if people are born hating each other and desiring to go to war and kill. Since that’s not the case, you can save your accusations of me being some weak, tree-hugging hippy.
So how can world peace happen? I have no idea. But just because I don’t know doesn’t mean I’m stupid in any way for saying I truly believe it is possible. Just like in my example above, whether it happens or not is a different story. But I’m always going to at least hope it happens and even wish for it to happen.
The problem with people who don’t believe world peace will happen is that they would look at those like me and make fun of us, believing we are ignorant to what’s going on in the world today. We’re not in the least. It’s just that we believe that all that’s going on does not have to happen. It doesn’t have to be viewed as inevitable. Many have been brainwashed to believe that just because of world events.
If I didn’t believe it was possible, I wouldn’t waste my time wishing for it. But I can’t bring myself to believe that the world we live in is the best we could ever expect. It’s just like when the news features a soldier’s death in combat and people say that we’ve become “desensitized” to it, just because it happens so often. Even having served for this many years, I have NEVER allowed myself and will never allow myself to become desensitized to losing one of my brothers or sisters. Never. That means I care just a little less than before. Not happening.
Look at how insane the odds are at winning the lottery. Yet, people play all the time. Why is that? All it takes is for them to see that one person has won it and that’s all the encouragement they need. Now these same people wouldn’t feel they’re being naive in that case. Only if they’ve never seen anyone win.
Calling me everything in the book just because you don’t agree that world peace will ever happen isn’t going to change my mind. There’s always that person who feels they will say the ONE thing that will make me say, “Yep…let me change how I feel because of them.” Nope. I’ve learned a long time ago that some people reach a point in life where they believe that where they are is the best they will ever see.
The truth is that that doesn’t have to be the truth. Again, I refuse to believe that the world we live in is the best things will ever be and that world peace isn’t possible. I don’t have to be John Lennon (his fans will know why I referenced him) in order to wishing for world peace or even “imagining” it without being viewed as naive.
Especially when people can come together on Christmas. How about funerals? Same thing. Despite how we are every other day…if we can force ourselves to come together on these days and maybe a few others, then how can you tell me that world peace isn’t possible or that I’m ignorant for thinking so? When we are all born, the world is peaceful to us.
So am I really naive in believing that it IS possible for life to be that way, or are YOU the naive one for being brainwashed into believing that it isn’t?
Whatever the case, each day I wake up; after I think about the things I’m thankful for, I immediately wish for world peace. Seriously. Again, you can call me what you want.
But if a person can purchase a lottery ticket and have all the hope in the world that they will win when the odds are 1 in 175 million or so, all because they’ve known of at least ONE person who has won, then I’m not about to feel stupid for believing in something that I too, have seen happen in my life at least ONE time.