Many, many thanks to my friend, inspiration, and guest author Beth DeLap for this important post. Please read, watch the attached video, and join us on March 19th! Below is Salee Allawe (read “Salee’s Got New Legs” for more info) and author Beth DeLap enjoying some time together in Greenville, South Carolina – March, 2011.
Salee and Author, Beth DeLap
Cooler weather means more time in the house, and that means more time on Facebook with its myriad links and videos and soundbites. You can “Facebook” for hours, and that’s exactly what I did this evening. Now I should be going to bed, but not until I get this down.
Somewhere on someone’s Facebook commentary, I found the link below and felt inspired. The young man is so real, with his soft face and the uncertain movements of the camera, the din in the background, together with his credentials as a military person. He’s suggesting that we, like the people of Egypt, really CAN make a difference by demonstrating with our whole heart, and he invites us to join him March 19th to insist on the end to what he calls “endless war.” To insist upon it. Nonviolently, like the Egyptians.
He suggests that maybe that is really not such a fantastic fantasy… that we might bring about the end, or the virtual end, of the collective mental illness we call war.
Reading and watching the video journals of ordinary Iraqis you see how disenfranchised they feel from their new “democratic” government. The “democracy” that was violently forced on the country continues to be government-by-force… which is not a democracy, no matter how loudly you proclaim it to be so. The Iraqi people still live (and countless die) not under democracy but under the “law” of brutality and injustice, the law of “might makes right” upon which W. based his illegal and brutal invasion. The fact that Obama’s presentation is less hateful and pugnacious than W.’s does nothing to take away a parent’s grief at the loss of his child in uniform, or a Pakistani child’s grief at the loss of her mother to a drone attack.
When our strong nation’s example to the rest of the world is “might makes right,” why wouldn’t others aspire to the same? Is it not a miracle when they don’t… for example, in Egypt, where a peaceful revolution was accomplished by the collective effort of ordinary citizens. It’s for us to stand up and notice their good example.
I don’t think of myself as a left-wing nut. But because I thought this youtube was useful and worth sharing, there are some who will think I am. I have something to say about that. Over my years I have been privileged to engage in hundreds of conversations with many different people, good people who have polar opposite ideas about God, politics, how people should act. But no matter how opposite, we always have one thing in common–our amazement, horror, and indignation that other people don’t see it our way. In our country, more and more, we Republicans and Democrats are like that. We call each other right wing, left wing, nut, fanatic, etc. Bottom line is that we want to live, and that means we don’t want our identity/culture taken away by someone stronger, some bully who insists that they, not we, are right. If I want to read the New Yorker, let me. If I thump my Bible, let me. And let me raise my kids to do the same. That’s not so difficult, and it’s actually the story of humankind, getting along in spite of differences, sometimes huge differences. That’s the foundation for a healthy democracy, that’s what makes for a vibrant community–our differences. America will continue to be a wonderful, hot, bubbling melting pot. At the moment we’re giving birth to Reform Islam, among so many other things. People come here to change, whether they know it or not. It’s the story of our country. We learn and change together.
The threat isn’t that others will come here and change us! The threat is that we will do to ourselves what we fear–we will close up our minds and become rigid fundamentalist violent scaredy-cats, whether on the left or the right.
I really have to scratch my head, wondering what is it that gets us so fired up–so feared up–that we forget how easy it is to get along, and begin wringing our hands and pointing our fingers and grabbing our guns and hopping around like a band of wild monkeys? I suppose at the end of the day (the year, the century, the millennium) it’s the same old culprit. The escalation to war is about money, the greed of a few people who are super good at manipulating the rest of us. It’s an old scam. “Let’s you and him fight.” Politicians are salespeople. The W. Bush “commercial” about weapons of mass destruction ran continuously on our tv screens until we were sold the war that enriched all of W.’s good friends, but left our country as broke as it’s ever been financially and otherwise. We ordinary citizens, here and in Iraq, will be paying for their bounty for generations to come.
But we are decent beings and more and more of us are doing away with the television, the soundbites, the commercials, the STUFF. We are curious, smart, and by nature designed to grow and learn. War is becoming old-fashioned in the age of information. We can’t help but insist that together we will create superior methods for solving our problems and bridging our conflicts. The life-saving strategy of our world family’s future will be one of “endless diplomacy” and patience and reaching out to each other. Soon war will look like cave man days. “How can I explain it Susie? It was totally self-destructive, but people used to do that.” What a peculiar thing to do to each other when there are plenty of other options, endless options.
I am sorry that you will have to suffer, Halliburton and the oil industry (war is oil’s biggest customer), but you won’t wither and die when war becomes a thing of the past. You’ll survive in some less malignant form even as the rest of us refuse to blow each other up. Don’t dismay, owners of service stations, and Republicans, and Democrats for the war, and war Christians, and peace protesters, and self-righteous writers of letters to the editor, and you career military folks on the brink of retirement, all of you with your strong views and your need to be needed. We love you. We’ve bought gas from you, and grown up with you, and marched with you, and voted for/against you. We have read your editorials and we have written back. We ARE you. No need for anybody to be left behind.
We’ll figure it out together. That’s what people do — when they don’t have bombs falling on them.
It really is my bedtime so I’ll just say this about March 19th. Let’s show up, bright and energetic, our best, most beautiful selves, and be counted in just that way on that day. Let’s be wholeheartedly nonviolent as we insist on nonviolence. And let’s call it a celebration rather than a demonstration. We are celebrating our collective intelligence, power, decency and hope on March 19th. Across the globe, ordinary people have these things in common. (Even when we appear to be polar opposites, calling God by some weird name for example, or driving on the wrong side of the road.)
I love my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters, civilians and soldiers alike. I love them too much to stay home on March 19th. I happen to be invited to a birthday party on that day, and I’ll tell you, that’s going to fit right in.
G’night, y’all. — Beth DeLap, The Whole Salamander
(Here’s the YOUTUBE) www.youtube.com/watch
(AND HERE’S OUR STOREFRONT) stores.lulu.com/store.php