I saw on my FB feed today a story about the potential expansion of the draft to include women. As a pacifist, a feminist, and the mother to just 1 child, a daughter, you might expect me to have very mixed feelings on this.
My feelings, however, are not complicated at all.
As a pacifist, I believe war is always evil and there is always a nonviolent alternative offered by God.
As a feminist, I believe that women should be full equals in the military, and therefore they should be drafted.
As the mother to just 1 child, a girl, I see this as one more entry in the category of risks I assumed when becoming a mother.
I support the draft of women, as well as the full inclusion and equality of women in the military.
Being a pacifist doesn't mean I don't support or appreciate the US military. I deeply appreciate them. I am deeply honored by their sacrifice. The people I don't support are the government leaders who take us to war instead of finding peaceful alternatives. They murder service men and service women. They create severe and lasting problems for these heroes, and then fail to take care of them once the war is over. They are the problem, not the military.
Being a feminist means that I have, for some time, believed that women should be drafted. Because feminism isn't about degrading men. It is about treating all humans equally regardless of their genitalia. Men need feminism as much as women do.
Being a mother is a newer position for me. Do I want my daughter to go to war, especially if she is drafted into it? Of course not! Do I want her to join the military at all? No, especially given the corresponding increase in the risk that she will be sexually assaulted once she is in the military. Do I want her to kill other humans in the service of some evil war? No!
But I didn't become a mom to feel safe, or to create a younger version of myself. I became a mom to increase the amount of love in the world.
When I became a mom, I assented to a contract with the universe: a contract that I was voluntarily putting a piece of my soul, my heart, my self, into the world where I would no longer be in control of it. I voluntarily took on the risk of having my core being walking around outside of me, vulnerable. I voluntarily agreed to increase the risk of being seriously injured and wounded. Because that is the flipside of love. The more we love, the more we risk injury.
I can't control my daughter. I couldn't control her when she was 6 months old! I can only raise her to be a force of love in the world. If that means she volunteers for military service, fine. She doesn't have to be a pacifist, or a feminist, or anything else. She only has to be herself. I have faith: faith that God will guide her, faith that Dale and I are fit parents, faith that our church community will teach her, faith that our act of love in giving birth to her will result in more love for the world.
I'm not afraid of her getting drafted, any more than I'm afraid of her being killed in her classroom by a gun wielding man, or being raped by a friend when she's a teenager, or being bullied in 7th grade, or getting fired at 25, or anything else. I want nothing but good things for her, but I refuse to live in fear of the bad things that must come. Fear only blocks love, which prevents me from being the mother I was called to be.