Danger and Opportunity

I believe that we are all connected on this Earth, by the air we breathe, the water we drink, the children we bear and the spirit we share. We are all created from the same stuff, but we happen to have been born into different societies. Look at the way strangers are pulling together because of this crisis. What is this telling us?
The opportunity I see here is to recognize that the greatest, strongest and most privileged nation on Earth now has the opportunity to practice the peacemaking we ask other nations to embrace. If we find we don't have the will to do it here, how can we ever hope that the long histories of violence and retaliation in the Middle East, Ireland, Africa or Southeast Asia can possibly change?
If we aren't free enough to respond to this atrocity with anything other than conditioned reflex, then there is no true freedom, and our human interconnectedness will make itself evident, endlessly, only in the torment we cause each other. If we only stuggle to defend ourselves instead of healing, we will waste our wealth, freedom, spirit and energy for generations to come.
What if this great nation were to start making amends for its political mistakes and economic injustices? What if we were to start asking humbly for the forgiveness of others? What if we supported the vital interests of humanity everywhere, as opposed to only narrow American interests? Certainly there would be tremendous resistance within our country, but with strong leadership it could happen.
This is not a plea to let the perpetrators go free. We must seek to contain the violence and seek justice for criminal acts. But how can we, having experienced the pain inflicted when innocent civilians become the target of someone's desire to get even, believe that there is ever a way for suffering to be made "even" through retaliation?
I have little hope that our current administration will be able to understand this, or even listen to it, unless there is a groundswell of support from the people. I'm the people. You are the people. Do we want a peaceful world for our children? What are we willing to give for it? Are we willing to seek healing instead of vengeance? Are we willing to learn how to forgive?
Give this opportunity your voice. Make a new vision part of your conversations with others, part of your letters, part of your prayers. Pass this message on, and add your hopes to it. Tell your legislators. As poet Leonard Cohen observed, "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
Peg Marson
Canby, Oregon