Derek trampled his thought. "--who were welcomed into the union after the Revolutionary War? Those slave owners? Were they evil all along, or was that image drummed in the northern soldiers' minds so they'd be willing to kill their countrymen? Their own brothers, for heaven's sake? Selling the idea of killing people as a glorious business, regardless of whether there's an ethical justification for it or not, is blatant manipulation of the citizenry. Surely there must be a way to base our nation's self-image on more peaceful activities."
"Like raising families, fishing, farming, running businesses. Like reading a good book, going to a movie. Anything but killing people."
"But you've just made my point for me, Mr. Boa. You're not arguing for peace, you're arguing for the things we might do while we're at peace. But we do those things anyway, whether we're in a war or not. So you have no argument."
"Whoa. Whoa. Time out!" Gisela Kilarney, the redheadded gamer seated across from Derek and Melissa, was frantically making a ball-field 'T' with her hands.
Falk stepped towards her. "Whatcha' got, red?"
"There's no pictures, Rod. Derek was talking about a national self-image. Pictures we carry around in our heads. Pictures that represent us as a people. But look at what we've got. It's easy to represent war graphically. Tanks. Guns. Soldiers in uniform."
He nodded. "I gotcha'. Rocket's red glare and all that."
"Recruiting posters," Melissa said, getting to her feet. "Propaganda films. Newsreels and war photographers and embedded news crews."
"War movies," Derek added, joining her.
Gisela circled her hand in the air. "And games. Lots of games. But where's the other side? Where's the peace posters, the movies?"
"That's easy," Rodney said. "At protests. And on progressive websites. The movies are out there, too. Documentaries. Download 'em, Get 'em on DVD. Show 'em in your living room."
"But nothing to counter Derek's war flicks. There's anti-war films, sure. Lots of them. But they all define themselves by what they're opposed to. There's no real peace movies. Or games." she pressed.
"Peace games? I don't have a clue what that even means."
"That's right. You don't." She sprang to her feet. "War's easy. We know what that looks like. We can draw pictures of it, make movies -- real movies, not just documentaries. Films with characters we can identify with, emotional arcs that draw us in. But what does peace look like? How does it feel? If we don't know what it looks like, how the heck are we supposed to have any kind of national self-image based on it?"
By this time, the rest of the group had joined the huddle. Derek looked around for a moment. "Okay," he said, raising both hands. "New project. Call it a peace initiative. If we're going to talk about peace, we need a language to do it in. Words. Pictures. Actions. Here's an example. Rodney, what's the peace movement about?"