Jay Rifenbary

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A Christmas Wish for Peace

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With the holidays upon us, and Christmas a few days away, I thought it appropriate to ponder peace, and those who are serving and have served to protect the very freedoms and liberties we as a society at times take for granted. As we celebrate, eat, drink, and be merry with family and friends, let us pause for a moment to send prayers and well wishes to those who serve in our Armed Forces.

Regardless of political affiliation or ideology, it is my hope that respect is demonstrated to all those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The irony in regard to the role our service men and women are undertaking is, in many respects, divergent to what our own government is doing within our own borders to deteriorate the very freedoms our soldiers are fighting abroad to protect. As American foreign policy promotes the creation of democracy in foreign lands, individual liberties of our own American citizens are being dismantled from within, and I am not strictly referring only to the present administration. As we witness more government intrusion into our lives through regulation, taxation, a centralization of economic power (the Federal Reserve), and a move away from Constitutional principles and free market, a social peaceful future may be in jeopardy.

As a West Point graduate and former Airborne/Ranger you may assume that I would be inclined to favor our wartime position. The truth is I am not in favor of our involvement at all. Listening to our President present his wartime strategy at West Point this past December 1 made me nauseous. The ever so frequent eyes closing and head bobbing of the cadets listening validated his lack of inspiration, commitment and motivation. For someone so articulate on so many issues, it was discouraging to listen to his lackadaisical rhetoric. The danger of having the “Commander in Chief” appear disconnected with those he is commanding is a very destructive message to send not only to our citizens, but our enemies abroad. A half-baked commitment towards any initiative personally, professionally or militarily will have an outcome resulting in failure. Vietnam is an illustration of a half-baked policy hindering a victory and putting even more American lives in danger as a result. I am not under the false pretense that I might be incorrect in my analysis, and in this particular subject I hope I am.

My hope for peace is to bring our fathers, mothers, sons and daughters home, for I believe we cannot change a society with such social, political and religious differences as Afghanistan. Military history will validate my statement, for there have been many before the USA that have attempted to do just that and failed miserably. Commitment to peace should not be looked upon by the world as just an American cause, but rather a definitive global one. To be the world police in an increasingly diverse and developing world is resulting in neglect of our own issues at home. I also believe every country, not just the USA, has a responsibility towards identifying and working towards eliminating human rights violations.

A global effort towards mutual social respect plus individual liberty is the fundamental catalyst for a peaceful world. As we celebrate the upcoming birth of the “Prince of Peace”, what is it we as individual citizens can do to be a peacemaker? A few suggestions include, * Think more of others than ourselves * Be more giving than receiving. * Put aside hurts and bitterness by forgiving and recognizing the goodness and joy around us. * Understand it is not our things that make a difference but our character. * Spread the word, and be an example of mutual respect, kindness, and humility. * Realize when all is said and done it will be the people closest to you who truly define who you were. * Finally, show love to those you love by being patient, empathetic and selfless. I wish all of my readers, friends and fellow citizens a beautiful, peaceful and fun filled Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.



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