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Invasive Wild Sunflowers
taking over Rain Garden
The Military is like the Wisconsin Wild Sunflowers that grow in my rain garden. They are both attractive but invasive. When I first planted this wild sunflowers in my rain garden I thought they, being tall with small yellow flower, would make for good edging for back of rain garden and on one side. It was not till the second year or so that I realized the sunflowers were invasive and taking over the whole rain garden. They spread not by dropping seeds onto the ground but by an under the ground connected root system. Finally I had to build an underground brick wall on one side, next to my neighbor’s driveway and put out by the roots the rest. They manage to spread here and there but if I put out all the roots of the sunflowers I can keep them in the designated area. They are an attractive flower but unless controlled they will kill all the other plants.
The military is attractive to young men and women, the sense of adventure, travel and protecting the freedom of our country seems appealing. We are protecting our selves, self defense, is appealing to young persons, especially when the part of the brain in which we consider consequences and risk is not fully developed to about age of 25. (See Neuroscience of Nonviolence slide show).
A mother wrote me today about an argument she has regularly with her pro-military son who brings up the “self defense”. Logically it does not make sense that we are more secure by killing people, many innocent, in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, it could be argued the world is more dangerous since our response after 9/11 was not to go after the criminals who committed crime but to wage wars in the Middle East. However, like the wild sunflower, logic is not the governing force when you plant the bulbs. Like a wild sunflower that grows and spreads, the more the military inflicts damage and killing on people who are of no danger to us, the more need there is for the military to be invasive, everywhere to keep us safe from the growing number of enemies we make.
Roots of military violence like roots of the wild sunflower just grow and spread. The only way to stop the spread of militarism in our country is to take it by the roots and eliminate it and keep it contained to a narrow area of self defense. War is hell but sold to us as necessary for self defense. How do we root our militarism in our society? I do not know but sense it starts with education. Our schools need to teach that the military like a wild sunflower is attractive but unless limited will spread and kill everything else in the garden of life.