One day at a time: Planning for peace |

One day at a time: Planning for peace

“One day at a time,” encourages Alcoholics Anonymous of its members. Facing the monumental problems associated with alcohol addiction, such wisdom has proven to help millions of folks.

It can help the rest of us, as well.

Perhaps you are as confused as I am regarding our president’s single-minded rush to war. While most of the world counsels caution, President Bush and his advisers seem hell-bent on bombing Baghdad.

I suspect most citizens don’t need convincing of Saddam’s sinister streak. What many of us are wondering is: “What’s the rush?” After all, we’ve managed to keep him in check for the last 12 years with not much more than an occasional slap and growl. Why must we bring out the big guns now?

And how, I can’t help but ask, will killing thousands of innocent Iraqis solve the Hussein dilemma? Despite the most sophisticated of killing technologies, Osama bin Laden continues to make his audiotapes, which, by the way, were anything but complimentary of Mr. Saddam. Sounded to me like Osama is as anxious as we are to end prematurely the term of Iraq’s president for life.

I keep hoping Mr. Bush is engaged in a magnificent Machiavellian bluff that will ultimately convince Hussein to pack up his bags and bag Baghdad. No one will laugh louder than I at such a clever use of our military forces, but just in case that isn’t in the president’s plans, may I suggest we take instruction from our friends at AA and concentrate on one day of peace at a time.

The way I figure it – each additional day we stay out of a war brings us another 24 hours closer to resolving this business without the necessity of bombs. All we need to do is convince the president of the worthiness of such a strategy.

For instance, say we all decide not to drive our cars next Thursday.

All over America, cars are parked and the gas they would have used stays in the tank rather than being belched into the atmosphere. Can you imagine the panic such prudence would cause in the Middle East?

It would take another full day just to get the Saudis’ hearts beating again. That’s two more days of peace!

This Monday is Presidents’ Day. What greater honor to the memories of Washington and Lincoln than commemorating their sacrificial acts for peace with a day of peace. It was Lincoln who reminded our nation that we are a people S “with malice toward none; with charity for all.”

Maybe we need a Presidents’ Week. We’re up to nine days of peace already!

Several decades back, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi captured the hearts and some of the minds of thousands of young people who were searching for “fulfillment, bliss and life in all possibilities,” if I remember the brochure correctly.

Seen as something of an eccentric then, I wonder if we might employ his enthusiasm now for a few extra days. Imagine all of America sitting, silently emptying our minds of aggressive, angry thoughts. Not only would that be a good way of adding an additional day or two, we might just find it as addictive as Starbucks. Surely, the president and his advisers could use a little bliss right about now.

Recently, a friend of mine got herself arrested for being too peace-loving. She spent a night in the slammer savoring the government’s benevolence of “three hots and a cot.”

Such civil and civic disobedience could be more than a little disruptive of our rush to war if all of us decided to follow her lead.

Certainly, a few million freeloaders diverting federal money from munitions to munchies would catch the president’s attention, even if only for a day. But then that’s one more day of peace.

“One day at a time” has served as a light shining in the darkness for millions of good people who suffer from a very bad disease.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that same message could guide the rest of us out of this dark warring madness?


Columnist Rich Mayfield fills this space, one Saturday at a time.

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