Toy Soldier

When I was little I looked forward to joining the military. I did drawings of guys in military uniforms and huddled up like they were taking a break from battle. I would do these drawings of battles, bullets flying and people dying. Sometimes the media would be there in the drawings, with their vans and with cameras. I always drew but drawing never proved anything.

I remember learning the word valor; it was in the title of some war movie that I saw with my family at the drive-in. It was your usual battle film where the men were proving themselves, coming of age violently.

A man becomes a man once he’s transcended the rights of passage and war seemed the appropriate means through which to do so.

Thank God I outgrew that desire; I never joined the military. At some point in high school I saw that this was not me. My dad endured Vietnam. He was courageous–a medic and he sustained injury, earning him a Purple Heart. He never pushed me toward the military, himself, but way back then I saw what kind of man he became after the war and I wanted to live up to his example. I know he was happy that I never followed that path.

Today he’s so much more than one of those guys always talking about their adventures abroad, killing foreign people. “Support our troops” the bumper stickers read, but I do. I do support the troops by desiring to end humanity’s forceful nature and ending the use of war between our tribes. I have this understanding that the human race will never unite and work as one human team until there is an enemy for us to align against.

Yes, I’m talking about forces of alien intruders. I have no strong belief in alien lifeforms but then again, it’s very logical that there are others out there besides humanity.

This is tribalism and we are tuned in to the tribal mentality. An ancient philosopher once said that man has two basic drives, the desire to stand out and the desire to belong. Isn’t it just like mankind to have such contrasting motives?


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