Ideas About How to Counter All the Bad Stuff of the World?

The lead story in the NYTimes just now is about the U.S. Defense Secretary reassuring people that there is not systematic abuse of Iraqi’s rights. You can read the story here. I just wonder if Rumsfeld even believes himself when he says stuff, much less believes that the general public believes him. I’m not claiming that there is some sort of systematic abuse of Iraqis (that is except the 100,000 or so civilians that have been killed or the prisoners that were systematically tortured at Abu Graib or the apparently unprovoked killings in Haditha) but the fact that Rumsfeld claims that there isn’t systematic abuse makes me think that there might be.
I ask myself pretty much every day what I can do to stop what is being done in the name of the United States. I am a citizen of this country, I know what is going on. Will my children ask me what I did to stop it? I was listening to these poor prisoners who have been recently released from Gitmo (you can listen at NPR.org here) and I just felt so awful about what these people had gone through. One of them was saying that he was so relieved to be released into U.S. custody after he was held in Pakistan for a little while because he knew that the Americans would treat him with fairness, human rights and justice. Boy, did we prove him wrong. And we are proving this to the whole world. It is so painful to watch. I wanted to tell the poor, tired, sounding man that so many of us DO NOT support what was done to him. We wouldn’t do it to him, and that is not what we want our country to stand for. I hate that the only thing that I will be able to tell my future children that I did about the horror of the Bush administration years is that I blogged about it and preached sermons about it. I vote. I write letters to my congresspeople (who probably already agree with me). I don’t go to protests because I just can’t stand that long for health reasons. I can’t think of other things to do. I educate my family. Speak up in class. But this all sounds pretty darn useless in the face of torture, abuse, systematic lying, etc. Ideas anyone?

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2 Responses to Ideas About How to Counter All the Bad Stuff of the World?

  1. Brian from Carver says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I wish I had a brilliant idea as to what would stop these evils being carried out in our names, but I think that you are doing all that you can. I urge you to continue to speak out against the war. Many people agree with you but need to have their opinions validated in the face of a cowardly mainstream press and spineless Democratic Party.

    I believe that the real problem is the culture of war that is evident among the political elite and the population in general. I am convinced that many people are opposed to the war in Iraq because we are losing it, rather than the fact that the war is immoral. Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex is alive and well and eats up more and more of our precious public funds that could be spent better elsewhere. The current administration is on track to launch a war against Iran. We attack and kill at will people in other countries who present to threat to us. What did people in Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, or Serbia ever do to us to deserve to be bombed? We have “wars on drugs” and “wars on poverty” as if these problems lend themselves to a military solution. What I propose is that we create a “culture of peace” in this country, where war would be seen as unacceptable in almost all situations and that peaceful alternatives always be considered first.

    I must tell you that I am extremely disappointed by the lack of response and leadership shown by the Unitarian Universalist Association in opposing this war. Your sermon on Social Justice Sunday is a model for UU behavior. I see that instead of addressing the most important issues of war, torture, and the general loss of liberties of Americans under the current regime, the General Assembly would rather address such vacuous issues as speciesism.

    Hang in there and don’t despair. Just try your best to be an agent for positive change in the world and maybe in future generations we will become a “culture of peace”.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Brian. Thanks so much for your comments. I especially appreciate your comments on “the war on drugs” or “war on poverty” as if these problems lend themselves to a military solution. That is such an excellent way of putting it. I would love to contribute to creating a culture of peace and I agree with Thich Nhat Hahn that we can begin doing this with our lives, but I also feel like more needs to be done more quickly in the meantime. Everything just feels quite inadequate or too slow given the urgency of the state of the world. But, as we talked about in our simplicity and sustainability class, we can only do what we can do. And when we use energy fretting that we can’t do more, then that is energy that doesn’t go toward doing what we CAN do.
    Interestingly, the UUA cares very little about specisim – when that is raised it is by UFETA. But I would argue that being concerned with the violence done to animals in farming them does relate to creating a culture of peace and a world where we care how our actions effect the world and its creatures (including human creatures!). The World Watch Institute has lots of information about how animal product consumption effects the environment and other people. I think when we can extend our peacefulness to our dinner plate, it is one step in the right direction, albeit one step among many and we can only do what we can do and we can’t do everything. Anyway, not to get off on another subject, I found your post to be so encouraging and affirming. Thank you. Elizabeth :)

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