Beliefnet
Progressive Revival

Mark Johnson is the Executive Director of The Fellowship of Reconciliation


These are difficult times in which to discern the truth, to
know what to believe. The language has shifted, the rhetoric softened; but
behavior, actions are still troubling. President Obama and Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton send an envoy to the Middle East “to listen.”  A drone operator on the west coast of
the United States drops a bomb on women and children in Pakistan or Afghanistan
with the flick of a switch. Hope and change meet inertia and cynicism.

As products of the most
religiously pluralistic country in the world and the most faith-driven in the
West, I would hope our leaders would model a still more ready posture of
listening for a sacred voice of discernment than a continuing exercise of
misplaced vengeance.

The president calls for
sacrifice; the times call for discipline. My deepest hope is that President
Obama understands that change and sacrifice require perseverance, persuasion
and prescience. My deepest hope is that his transformation of the nation with
our support, survives the forces of evil which are still present in the world. The
good Old Testament Cynic in me knows that the inertia is a product of deeply
vested interests that profit from warfare, that drive reckless consumption,
that perpetuate privilege whereby gender, race and class perpetuate unfair
social and economic advantage. I also know that I carry these seeds and wrestle
with these demons.

The early days of a new
administration appear to be the most permeable. This is the moment when the
people’s voice should be heard. This is the moment to make it clear that the
majority of Americans elected the President to end the wars, increase
well-being, restore credibility and integrity to domestic and foreign policies.
And that is a message that needs to be addressed to all the members of Congress
as well as the executive branch, day in and day out. Every day, find a way to
say something to someone in a position to make a decision about what needs to
be done. Organize, organize, organize.

Nuclear weapons and
rampant militarism still threaten global security. Corporate greed still
distributes the fruits of labor with unconscionable inequity. The powers that
be and our silence still lead to the brutal death of innocents every day. Tens
of millions still lack affordable health care. Justice is still frozen in the cold
conscience of law. And the water of cumulative costly consumption is rising on
the shores of poverty world-wide.

Then, on the ground,
back home we need to continue to confront the military recruiters serving a
poverty draft to repeat our mistakes in Iraq all over again in Afghanistan. We
must make a big, safe place for those returning from the moral, physical,
psychological horrors of war. Specific, concrete plans and programs need to be
put into action to serve troops long after they are mustered out of uniform. We
must adjust our choices one by one each day with deference to an earth able to
sustain our children for generations to come. We must begin the long, deeply
humbling practices of reparations and reconciliation. 

Cross Posted at http://www.forpeace.net/

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