Today, Dress Wounds. Tomorrow Redress Grievances. --by Michael Rectenwald
At this time, let us in the pro-democracy movement give ourselves to the heart of democracy -- by sharing our best selves with those in pain, in need, in emergencies, and in unfathomable grief. Let us focus in the immediate on the spirit, the deeper soul and body of our nation-- to address, with loving hearts, minds and hands, our physical, moral and spiritual wounds, which wounds are so deep and many tonight. We are all suffering tonight, but others suffer more than we do. Let us help them. Let us suspend our grievances for a brief time, to focus on the well-being of our fellow human beings.
Whether policies or an implacable history has delivered this day (and both have arguably contributed), the day is ours, and we must gather its bleeding members, and wrap ourselves around them, as bandages around lacerations. Some of us were eyewitnesses to the tragedies of today, who had "arms, legs, and parts of people falling on our heads." Our nation is poorer, our lives are lessened, and our hearts are heavy tonight.
We who love democracy, and value the lives of all people equally, find ourselves in a difficult predicament -- find ourselves being asked to rally behind a leader who we know is not our leader, a "leader" who has, we believe, already inflicted wounds on our nation, a leader who has our nation's fate in his hands, and who has already endangered us. Our anger towards what many of us felt was a likely eventuality under Bush -- unprecedented reprisals from parties hostile to the US and his policies -- is justified. We have warned and warned: Bush is dangerous domestically and abroad. Now, under Bush, we have experienced another unprecedented assault on our nation (following the first one delivered on Jan. 20) -- the worst act of terrorism to hit the American citizens in the history of the nation. We do not think that this attack under Bush's "command" represents a meaningless coincidence. Rather, the events are linked, part of that "inescapable web of mutuality" that Martin Luther King referred to. There was no escaping it -- a forcible takeover of the nation would have negative consequences in and for the world.
The Bush political legacy, from GH to GW on down, has contributed greatly to the ire directed at our citizens. That tensions in the Middle East have been exacerbated by the "laissez faire" policies of the unilateralist Bush, that Clinton was at least moving towards peace while under Bush's non-stewardship the situation has approached anarchy, not many in the movement (and indeed, the world) doubt. We must, in very short order, resume our assault on Bush's international policies of unilateralism, bellicose posturing, and treaty-breaking, and soon, before more casualties occur as a result. But at the present moment, and I mean, in the very immediate moment, let us address a deeper sense of democracy -- the right of life, liberty and the peaceable pursuit of happiness of all peoples -- by taking care of immediate needs. Let's tend to the immediate sense of morality -- loyalty and commitment to those nearest us.
Therefore, for the brief duration of our imperilment, let's show some restraint, with a foreknowledge of our greater purpose, in our outrage at the ship's captain, and hope and work for the safe delivery of the ship. Accusing Bush of deliberately causing the terrorism, for example, will not help either the nation or our movement; it will hurt those in pain, and alienate those who might otherwise concur with us. However, when delivered from this hopefully short excursus into Hell, after reaching relatively safe harbor, we can resume our work to oust the illegitimate "captain." Our commitment to the cause will have been no less -- rather, it will take on a deeper significance. We will have purified ourselves to a degree, and will then be more fit for direct action. We will make sure our hearts are in the right place -- that we have always only had the well-being and best interests of our nation at heart.
Let us, then, attend to our own, and care for the nation, displaying our own, deeper sense of patriotism -- one that loves our nation and people too much to contribute to bellicose international posturing, and that also cares too much to neglect our direct duties towards our fellow citizens and human beings. The evils of today are more than enough for today.
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