"War is the greatest threat to public health."- Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
OBAMA - Time for (Subversive) Change
I woke up this morning and had to pinch myself. Did that really happen? Did Obama really win, and by such a margin? Did such a positive vision (of hope) really overcome the politics of fear and division? In a nation feeling the worst hangover in its history after a nearly eight year-long out-of-control party (hosted by The White House) did we really wake up this morning to the hope of real change? You bet we did!
Well, this party is (nearly) over, and there will be a tremendous mess to clean up. It is a mess that was generated over many administrations, although the last eight years have done exponential damage. The problem is that we do not have the luxury of time to solve many of the most serious problems we face, among them global warming and an endless "war on terror" that is (itself) making the entire world a more dangerous place. We have to act NOW!
Barack Obama was my candidate of choice as I cast my ballot, although he was not a perfect choice. Of course, what politician is the perfect choice. Just like the rest of us, they are human; and worse, they have entered the realm of politics where people's values tend to get clouded by a wide variety of influences, not the least of which are the powerful forces (and ideologies) behind the National Security State.
But I believe that President Elect Obama will listen to reason, and the big question will be just how far will he go in challenging the status quo. It isn't easy going up against the insidious influences of the National Security State and its associated Military-Industrial Complex. I hold a measure of hope that he will be brave enough to question and challenge those deeply embedded structures of power that have helped bring us to the precipice on which we stand today.
Forty-eight years ago the man who may have been the greatest president in history (for reasons I will explain in a future posting) was elected, and took office on January 20, 1961. During his time in office, John F. Kennedy turned from a traditional Cold Warrior to someone dedicated to making peace and bringing the world back from the brink of nuclear war. He challenged the deeply embedded power structures of the National Security State, and prevented what would have been the end of the world as we know it.
Kennedy's name has been invoked any number of times during the presidential campaign in reference to Barack Obama. Obama will face an even more complex world than did Kennedy, but will absolutely require the kind of courage and self-sacrifice demonstrated by Kennedy during his presidency. He will also need (as will Congress) the American people's support, prodding and criticism to address all the issues before him.
We the people will need to engage the the political structures like never before. It is no longer acceptable to vote once every four years, and let the political gears turn until the next election. So decide upon which issue (or issues) you want to focus, and get involved with one or more organizations (many links in this blog) that work on them. Write letters, send emails and faxes, sign petitions, march and demonstrate if necessary. But, get involved. Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
We CAN change the world. Sounds kind of subversive, doesn't it?
I am a student and practitioner of nonviolence, working for the abolition of ALL nuclear weapons. I coordinate media & outreach for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (www.gzcenter.org), and also coordinate the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (psnukefree.org) and the NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign.