We live in a culture that honors soldiers.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this. These are people who go into a job knowing that they could be shot to… “defend our liberties.” Now we can discuss how attacking people overseas who hate us makes us safer. Many hate us for our politics, much of which seems to be about how we like to interfere in world politics and support regimes like the ever peaceful Israeli states (where is my sarcastic font?). Policy makers inadvertently perpetuate cycles of violence and distrust. Differences in religion don’t help either, but for whatever reason everybody seems to think that God is on their side.
Also, most of the soldiers I know tell me that it is mostly getting too little sleep and too little pay to do boring and menial work.
And to be clear: thank you for your service. You signed up to take risks for your country. I have no problem with you fine folks… politicians are another matter entirely. But now is not the time to open that can o’ worms.
So lets change gears and I’ll ask you: when was the last time you were surprised about hearing about a school shooting (in the US)? Teaching is not a profession without risk anymore.
Sometimes people tell me that teaching is a noble profession. But I have also had friends ask me if I am nervous about a shooter coming to my school… and I admit I am. But I’ll stay because I love to teach, and that I do it well. Lets make no mistake though, schools are not off limits to mass murderers.
I would like to imagine a culture that honors teachers the same way that it honors soldiers. Can I get my teachers discount at the restaurant? Or allowed to board a plane early? Can we have parades? Or people on the TV saying they support their teachers in service? Or asking for more money for schools? How about celebrating the families that have several generations of educators?
Imagine a world where literacy, art, and science are valued more than violence.
Imagine a world where we can explore ideas and cultures, without needing to be behind armed barricades.
Imagine a culture that celebrates intellect and invention as protectors of democracy, more than military might.