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My Sweetheart made an interesting observation this morning. We were wading through the wasteland that is cable television. The Sci-Fi Channel was down for some reason, and we stumbled across the local PBS broadcast of Ken Burns' The Civil War. As Annorien is a big fan of The History Channel, and me being an American History buff, we let the TV sit right there for the rest of the broadcast - I'd not seen it the whole way through yet and quickly turned on the VCR if we had to leave.

We were watching the 2nd or 3rd segment, which includes the Battle of Shiloh and, as we'd just visited the Shiloh and Stones River battlefields this past summer, I was commenting on the storyline, comparing it to what we'd actually seen for ourselves and thinking back on the devastation in lives and such as we walked through the lines of artillery or stood on the killing fields called The Hornet's Nest or the Peach Orchard.

Suddenly, Annorien popped off with a comment about how confusing a person I was. That although I professed to be a pacifist, I have always shown a keen interest in warfare and displayed, in her opinion, many characteristics and talents that would have stood me in good stead in the military; my fascination with the American Revolution and the Civil War; obsession with computer war-games like Command and Conquer, Warcraft, and Total Annihilation; and that beside my mythic fiction library sits the alternate histories of Turtledove and Harrison, my Battletech books by Michael Stackpole and Robt. Charrette(sp?), not to mention David Drake's Hammer's Slammers series. Then there's Robert Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers, and John Dalmas' The Generals President.

My only comment at the time was that while I was not in total agreement with our presence in places like Bosnia, Afghanistan, or the Middle East, I would not have a problem with fighting if my own homeland and family were threatened. That perhaps my interest in the subject was a holdover from my chess playing days, my fierce competitiveness in games.

I have now spent most of today reflecting upon this seeming inconsistency. Questions, questions, and more questions.

Philosophically pacifistic, how is it that I came to be awarded the Daughter's of Founder's and Patriot's of America Award some 30 years ago - and still proud of it to this day?

My main reason for having a computer at home was to play games like Blitzkrieg and The Ultimate Military Simulator (way back when), or C&C and TA now. Even as a kid, my favorite games at the time were Milton Bradley's "Dogfight" and "Battle Cry". Yet my spiritual path is a peaceful animistic-like philosophy, an affinity with Native American beliefs, and total acceptance of the rede, "and it harm none, do as ye will."

Though I cherish peace above all things and find it hurtful to think of harming another, still I would quickly take up arms to defend someone else's freedom, their right to choices in their life.

'Tis a hard thing to reconcile.


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