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2017 was a year of shame for our bloody county. The blood that cried out from the ground took its vengeance upon those of us in the land of the living. Race and cultural battles tore out the heart of the American people. There is a potential war on the horizon with Korea and host of other nations. Economic setbacks will hit from the draconian Republican Tax Bill that just passed. The Affordable Health Care Act was revoked.
Corporate lobbyist paid big and heisted the cake — not only that, they won the icing on the cake. The collapse of the physical and social infrastructure of the U.S. may take a few months to kick in, but it will be just in time for the 1% to get richer—and to take our money and run. There is no illusionary Reganomics “trickle down” with this economic policy, it all flushes one way—UP. . .to the coffers of your 1% overlords.
The strength of the U.S. dollar is further weakened against the British Pound, and the Euro of the European Union. Many C.E.O.’s of major banks started selling off their own personal stocks in the banks they lead, nearly 100 million dollars’ worth and growing. This country appears more unstable than at any previous epoch since the Civil War. In reality, we are in the midst of a “Neo-Civil War.” This one takes place not only with blood in the streets, but also in cyberspace, which also just got hijacked with the loss of Net Neutrality. 2017 was a bitch! —or more accurately, a bastard.
It would almost be nice to go back to the subtle fascism of Orwell’s 1984 dystopia. Yet, in 2017, we saw firsthand the fascists “take the gloves off.” 2018 appears like the year the fascist’s ungloved fist may drop on us all, rather than only cracking down on the marginalized segments of society. As in pre-WWII Germany —- the mentally challenged, the gypsies, the Jews get taken down first— then they come for YOU. In 2018, fascists may choose to move on from their easier prey of the “minority” groups of African-Americans and immigrants, and roll up on your door. Knock, Knock, Knock.
In 2017 we saw anti-racist activists get murdered by White Supremacist (with a “thumbs up” from the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces—of the largest standing army and military presence on Spaceship Earth.) Peaceful anti-corporation protesters at NODPL got their limbs blown off and were beaten. And of course, ever more growing numbers of innocent unarmed civilians were cut down with gunfire by authorities. Not only (yet still predominately) black men. The police finally killed a peaceful white woman this year in the person of Justin Damond.
Welcome to the Land of the Free, Home of the armed (locked and loaded,) trigger happy—and EVERYTHING, but brave. “I feared for my life” became the anthem of armed professional grown men invested with the civil authority (and training) to shoot people dead for . . . for what?
Peace is nothing but a faraway cloud, an imaginary, wispy dream—floating in outer space, a fanciful phantasm not fit for the light of day. A dream for the weak, or ignorant pacifists, pot-smoking hippies, tie-dyed throwbacks to the overly romanticized 1960’s and 1970’s. Peace is dead. It died after God died—and hope died with her.
So What Should Men Do to Take a Stand?
So what specific actions should men take for their own lives, their families, and their communities in 2018? As in all previous epochs and times of occupation, invasion, and repression—you have to fight. “Fight or die,” as they say in all those lame old war movies. But take care, Brother, with which weapons you choose to fight with —that is, if you still even have a pulse of courage left, or an original thought devoid of indoctrination from the incessant bombardment of propaganda. Generations past had the outdated conception that you should fight “fire with fire.” Adding fire to fire only adds to the flames of destruction.
As a committed and consistent martial artist for over 35 years, and the son, grandson, and brother of War Veterans (WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War) I live, move and have my being as a Warrior. If pressed, I can and will take things where they need to go. I will defend my own life and that of my loved ones. Yet, my long-term “war strategy,” my endgame— is that of fighting for peace. I am a Warrior for Peace.
How Does One Become a Warrior for Peace?
Peace begins first and foremost in one’s heart and soul—by getting centered and strengthened in your spirit. Build into your life (for your sake and your loved ones) a grounding meditation or spiritual practice. I have practiced and taught Qigong and martial arts for many years, and have helped “soldiers of peace” find their path to protection and rejuvenation. Some follow the “yoke” of Yoga. Others simply find a seated meditation practice, or a prayer pattern within the families of traditional religions. Your path is extremely personal, but the principles of being a Warrior of Peace are universal and consistent. It is a spiritual battle, first and foremost for your own mind and soul. Win it.
Be open-minded and flexible, not rigid and tight. I am a 2nd-degree blackbelt in Jujitsu and studied (on top of that) the amazing art of Aikido for 6 years. The key principle in both of these powerful martial arts is the non-opposition to force, or going with the flow. These times in our world are turbulent. Everything is in flux and changing. Perhaps in times past, being stubborn, inflexible, and dogmatic were some sort of survival mechanism that worked. In these times, such approaches will destroy you. Balance, centeredness, flexibility, and flow are the hallmarks of true strength in the turbulent times we live. Balance your Yin and Yang.
Face your fears head on—stir your heart towards courage. We are not the only generation to endure hardship, oppression, and cruelty. I have heard that the ancient biblical scriptures state 365 times for one to “take courage” — once for each day. Whatever your philosophical or spiritual perspective, you must face your fears head on. Bite your fears head off. Eat your fears for breakfast. Your fears will not stand in the light of day—as ugly as it feels, turn and embrace them. Then watch them crumble to dust.
Rejoice and be grateful for the gift of life and ALL of your personal blessings. We share a glorious gift in this treasure we call “life.” The earth is an amazing home for our species, and for all life-forms. Our breath alone is something to get excited and happy about. Take each day as it comes, and focus on your blessings rather than the ominous challenges we face in 2018. Your perspective in 90 % of your battle. Violence and political domination work specifically to feed men’s despair, depression, and fears. Don’t swallow the bait. As surely as the sun rises, your life has the potential for exponential happiness, in spite of temporary circumstances and setbacks.
To choose the path of a Warrior of Peace is not easy, but it is a life filled with love, power, and significance. There is an ancient African proverb we must hold fast in our hearts in 2018: “If there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot harm you.” As Dr. King stated, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Being a Warrior of Peace is a long-term battle, not a quick and dirty fight. Get involved in the “Beautiful Struggle.” If not, our descendants will look upon us and of our generation with unadulterated shame.
Previously published on FrankBlaney.com
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