VOICES: We all must do the things that make for peace

This guest column by Dayton writer Sara Pearsaul Vice appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Months before the November election, I had declared my desire to attend the inauguration of the next president. I have never attended an inauguration, but I wanted to be part of the celebration of our democracy, whether or not I had voted for the winning candidate.

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If I had voted for the winning candidate, I planned to cheer him on. If I hadn’t, I would have been a peaceful protestor. Before the mob attacked the Capitol and tried to overthrow the Electoral College vote tally, we as citizens would have had the freedom to gather to watch the peaceful transition of power.

Sara Pearsaul Vice is a freelance writer who has contributed to newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune. She provides communications support to corporations, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations and is a singer with the Bach Society of Dayton.
Sara Pearsaul Vice is a freelance writer who has contributed to newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune. She provides communications support to corporations, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations and is a singer with the Bach Society of Dayton.

Credit: Samantha Thornton

Credit: Samantha Thornton

Now, the Capitol resembles a military state. We all have lost the right of assembly at the inauguration this year. We all must work to win it back peacefully.

When I voted in the November election, I was proud of the safe and friendly manner in which Montgomery County conducted early voting. In a county that can swing in either political direction, citizens stood quietly, side by side but six feet apart, to cast their votes.

We all wore masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

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The staff members were busy sanitizing and checking identification and signatures. I cast my votes and then watched as my printed ballot was fed into the voting machine. We believed our votes would count and they did. But now a large percentage of our population no longer accepts that all votes were duly counted. So now we all must work to win back the trust in our elections peacefully.

In 1994, I traveled to war-torn Croatia to join a small group of American volunteers for World Relief, with a short-term mission of helping refugees from the Yugoslav civil war. I saw the ravages of war close up on the haunted faces of children and adults in refugee camps, in the bullet holes in the walls of homes and hospitals, in the hopelessness. We all yearned for peace.

In 1995, an uneasy settlement to the war was reached at the Dayton Peace Accords. Sadly, today, Bosnia is a holding place for stateless and homeless refugees from the civil war in Syria. The violence of civil wars and its consequences rage on.

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It is all too easy to overthrow a society with violence. So now we all must do the things that make for peace.

Sara Pearsaul Vice is a freelance writer who has contributed to newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune. She provides communications support to corporations, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations and is a singer with the Bach Society of Dayton. Guest columns are submitted or requested fact-based opinion pieces typically of 300 to 450 words.

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