Friday, February 29, 2008

My 9/11 Speech

I received a request from a friend who asked with tongue-in-cheek and a touch of sarcasm for me to “… write down your speech to the nation, the day after 9 /11, 2001.”

This is the speech I would have given:

Good evening.

Today, America came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts.

These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos, retreat, and to break the spirit of America.

Japanese General Yamamoto said that the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 “awoke a sleeping giant." The terrorist responsible for this attack, and all terrorist, are herein “put on notice” that the attack of September 11th, 2001 awoke that same sleeping giant.

In regard to terror, America has been too complacent. These same murderous acts have extensively plagued other nations for a long time. However, in the United States, other than homegrown terrorism and the first World Trade Center bombing of 1993, we have had little experience with terrorism. We have been complacent because these acts happened somewhere else, and not on our homeland. Instead of complacency, we should have been uniting with other nations to combat terrorism against anyone, and anywhere terrorism occurs.

I apologize to the people of America for their governments failure to proactively respond to these events. Every Administration of the last century has failed in this regard to protect the American people from terrorist. From herein and hereout I don’t intend to let this happen on my watch.

We must engage in the patient work of coalition building, consensus building, and conceding the rights of the other nations in order to effectively combat terrorism. We cannot be intransigent. We have to, each nation, take responsibility individually and collectively for the welfare of our international community.

Our strength and our resolve lies in the condition of the American Spirit, which is united and strong. We will move forward as America always has to take steps to protect America and its people.

Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the very best of America – the “Spirit of America” as displayed by the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring of strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, we implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C. to help with local rescue efforts.

We first need to get help to those who have been injured, to those whose lives have been shattered, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.

The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington, which had to be evacuated today, are reopening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business, as well.

The search is underway for those who are behind these reprehensible, evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities, as well as a request for the full resources of the intelligence and law enforcement communities of other nations and INTERPOL, to find those responsible and to bring them to justice within the boundaries of American and International Law. America will collaborate with the United Nations, uniting with them and in utilizing their Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy to further our efforts.

And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have overwhelmingly called to offer their condolences and assistance. I ask them to unite with America in combating this evil.

America will join with all those who want peace and security in the world. We must stand together in combating terrorism. I will keep America informed of our progress. I will report to the American people those who are responsible for this despicable and immoral act, and the actions we are taking to bring them to justice.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children who have been traumatized, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened.

John F. Kennedy said on June 10th, 1963 “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough -- more than enough -- of war and hate and oppression.”

“We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we must labor on--not towards a strategy of annihilation but towards a strategy of peace.”

We must now take dramatic but appropriate action to increase our security – decisive, viable actions that will not put America or its people in harms way.

In the words of Martin Luther King: “We shall overcome!”

Thank you.

Good night and God bless America.

"What would you have done?"

A friend asked me to respond to these questions: “What would you have done if you were George Washington when the Brits were trying to take over?” – “What would you have done in 1812, when 1000 U.S. merchant ships were seized? After 10 years of hoping it would stop.” – “What would you have said in your radio address the day after Dec 7th 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed?”

When American Pioneers traveled to explore the west, they could not have done it without knowledge – the accumulated knowledge that had evolved to that time and place. When American astronauts traveled to the moon, it could have not been done without the accumulated knowledge that had evolved to that time and place. To put a spacecraft in orbit, populate it, perform spacewalks, and do all the things we do in space, could not have been done without the accumulated knowledge that had evolved to that time and place. Further exploration with missions into the cosmos cannot be done without an accumulation of knowledge that will have evolved to that future time and place.

And, we will not be able to end war and establish authentic peace without an accumulation of knowledge that will have evolved in our ever evolving time and place -- our forever evolving here and now.

Gaining knowledge is a process. There is no end to that process. It is a process as in Hegel’s dialectic: that of a notion, the formation of a thesis, antithesis, and sublation eventually forming a synthesis, and then the process starts all over again with the new accumulated knowledge, which continues to evolve over time.

The end game is complete knowledge -- the knowledge necessary to achieve “The Theory of Everything.” Of course, we will never in reality achieve it, but we will get closer and closer and closer,” without achieving fruition.

These situations of conflict do not just happen. Simplistically, they do not happen overnight into something you were not aware of the day before. The time frame of these events before a confrontation that from which a nation cannot then ignore evolve over years.

With a passion for peace and not conflict, I believe every conflict can be circumvented.

The process of peaceful confrontation through negotiation is a lengthy, ongoing process. As with dialectic it is an evolving process. In peaceful negotiation, the process always has the probability of a win-win peaceful conclusion. There is always a give and take, but if conducted with probity it can be a win for everyone involved. Of course, both sides of the process must diplomatically manage it. In the process, one must understand the give and take nature of the process.

War is the result of belligerent reaction, because it has immediacy as a result of failure to act proactively.

In war, a nation might lose and they gain nothing, but lose so much: blood and treasure as well as standing, as America has lost with the world in respect to Iraq.

So, my bottom-line response is that in the zeitgeist of the latter part of the 18th century, in the zeitgeist of the first part of the 19th century, and in the zeitgeist of the middle of the 20th century without the benefit of contemporary accumulated knowledge, and my own evolution, as a citizen and not a seer, I may not have responded any differently than another American living in those eras.

As a leader, I would hope I would have felt significantly disappointed, because a war is the result of failure. But, then, of course, I would not have the accumulated knowledge to understand that I had failed.

The causes of the American Revolutionary War or the American War of Independence (1775–1783) contain a series of events dating prior to the French Indian War beginning in 1754 up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence from England in 1776.

During more than 22 years, there were many significant opportunities for negotiation, but none were taken.

The War of 1812 was a failed attempt by the USA to seize Canada while Britain was engaged fighting Napoleon in Europe. It seems to me, as with Iraq that it was a war of choice. It certainly could have been avoided.

The fruition of World War II was a result of a series of events over time prior to World War I. If you look at the history of these two catastrophic events and the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania you would acknowledge they could have been proactively prevented. The root cause of World War II was World War I.

Perhaps the accumulated knowledge to prevent the sequence of events that took place in the causation of these wars just simply had not evolved to an extent where that knowledge was available.

So, if I were George Washington, James Madison or Franklin Delano Roosevelt with contemporary accumulated knowledge and within the scope of my evolution, I would have had as much passion to find ways to circumvent war as they had in their zeitgeist to be belligerent and which consequently lead them to war. These wars had all of the potentiality to have been avoided.

The evidence of what I am talking about is implicit in the way your questions were framed. The questions in and of themselves pose themselves for a reactionary response. The answer I have given is one of proaction.

So, if I had my way and was successful with all of these events there would be nothing for me to do, nor would I have a radio address to give. The events would not have happened, because I have a passion for peace, and I would have acted proactively over the years to prevent them from happening.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Christian Response

February 16, 2008

“To suggest that Jesus is requiring Christians to be passive victims of violence, abuse and exploitation is taking the scripture far beyond its intent.

I do not see war as being hypocritical, when it is waged defensively. There are, just wars and there are unjust wars. This is a biblical principal. I see, just wars, as promoting peace.

Until we reach those who have no understanding of Christ's message, we struggle to survive to continue preaching that message.

Your child is outside playing on their bike and someone comes along and takes it away. As Father's, what shall we say to that child? What shall we teach them, turn the other cheek? Pretend it's not happening? And when they come back again to take his car, again shall we turn the other cheek? NO, because there is evil and greed in this world and the next thing taken will be his house.

I'm a realist. And I believe in peace through strength. As stated in the Preamble of the Constitution, “Provide for the common defense”... “SECURE the Blessings of Liberty”

The operative word is," Secure,” translation ... “Strength.”

Most definitely, NOT the George Bush's view of strength through bullying.

As I watched the images of the first cruise missiles landing on Baghdad, I was in disbelief. When I saw the first tank (flying the American flag) charge into Iraq, I thought to myself, "this is so wrong". On the other hand, when I see a terrorist site that was responsible for the World Trade Center collapse, in Afghanistan, I see justice.

Iraq is an unjust war. Afghanistan is a just war.

I am not suggesting that Christians should be passive to violence, abuse, and exploitation. That sort of reasoning would be antithetical to Christ's message. To the Prince Of Peace, violence, abuse, and exploitation would be abhorrent. Christ would condemn these things and combat any and all of them in a non-violent way.

If someone stole my child's bike, as a father I would teach my child that a bike only has material and object value. It can always be replaced. You can never replace your or another persons limb, life, or more importantly, what you are as a human being. The result of a confrontational action based on revenge could be unrecoverable injury for you or the other person. Who you are as a person will forever be contaminated if you would take revenge out of anger and hate against the person who stole your bike. It will become an affliction hard to overcome. Anger, hate, fear, and greed all come from the same human source. That source is the same behavioral, emotional source from which motivated the person to steal your bike in the first place.

I would teach my child that in life it is not so important what happens to you, but how you react to it. If you allow yourself to be overcome by the sense of your loss it will turn into revenge, anger, and consequently hate, which are all complimentary factors of fear. These are not the values I would wish for you to incorporate into your life. The beneficent and opposite behavioral source of these immoral values are the values of love, compassion, understanding, as well as reverence and respect for all life, irrespective of what happens to you, or your ego. These are the core values with which I would wish you to embrace, incorporate, and color your life.

This does not mean that I would not expect you to react to a situation in personal self-defense or assisting in the self-defense of others. My only expectation that I would hope that you would try non-violent means first.

I would teach my child that that is why it is necessary to have laws. I would tell my child that we will report the theft of the bike and let the police and legal system handle it.

"By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive." - Albert Schweitzer

In war, there is not one scintilla of reverence for life.

In war every atrocity known to man, every atrocity as described in the Bible's Old Testament, or what is also referred to as the First Testament, has been acted out by man. Every atrocity that any terrorist has ever employed and of which Americans condemn, also has been employed in war by both sides, and that does include Americans.

War is always the result of a failure to act proactively. It is an ignorant response. It is a failure of not having complete knowledge. Participation by patriots in support of war is always the outcome of fear, real or devised - mostly devised by those who have the power to declare it. Those in power and those who have psychological control over our lives, create it to garner the support of nationalist and patriots.

And, as expressed by Chris Hedges, "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning!"

Initiating war to promote peace is oxymoronic, if you will. To coerce a people to accept democracy or to make them free as the consequence of the "tip of a bayonet" is also oxymoronic and reveals ignorance (by ignorance I mean the lack of complete knowledge).

There is no such a thing as a just war. The principles and rules of jus ad bellum and jus in bello are antiquated principles even though they have been employed as recently as the latter part of the 1940s. The concept itself of just war and the term bellum justum dates to St. Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century.

To be "Just" means to be consistent with what is morally right. It means the upholding of justice, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law. An action taken that is in conformity with the facts and sound reason. War certainly does not embrace this meaning.

From a Christ's view, war is unarguably an immoral act. If anyone thinks that Jesus Christ would support war certainly does not have the same understanding of his teachings as I do.

Strength is both of brawn and of spirit. The spiritual ability to maintain a moral and intellectual position always takes greater fortitude. Brawn and militancy come from a latent, prehistoric, animalistic sense of behaviors that are acted out without thought.

A large military, brawn and militancy, gives one a lulled false sense of security. In case America faces a greater enemy, an enemy with a greater military power that in war we would have difficulty in conquering, we develop and stockpile a nuclear arsenal that is many times the number of nuclear weapons that we need to defeat any threat. We are in a constant and perpetual state of fear. How can anyone feel secure under these circumstances?

I understand and I respect the opinion of others. I believe we all desire the same outcomes: peace and freedom. We differ in our views on how to get there. We do not agree on the necessity for war.

Some may think of me as some sort of unrealistic kook. Some view me as a utopian. Amongst some of the things I have been called, up to and including that I do not deserve to be an American and that I should leave the country, is that I have a "pollyannaish" view and I should join all of those other pacifists and do-gooders who sing "Kum Ba Yah." I also have been called an anarchist and someone even went so far as to anonymously send to me the "Anarchist Bible." Some consider me an atheist when I really am not. Only an atheist in their view because I do not believe in a personal god. I am an atheist in the view of a Christian. Moreover, at least two people have said I should watch my back, and that our government may target me if I don't curtail my writing and discussion. Quite a few extremes, don't you think? I do not believe in the biblical Jesus; but I do believe in the historical, philosophical, and metaphorical Jesus - I believe in and try my best to abide by his teaching. I do know that very few are willing to discus my views with me. That is because I am in the minority. So in some sense I do understand where others are coming from. It can get very lonely in a crowd if I should respond in discussion within the context of my point of view. I usually am shunted or confronted in an extreme hostile way, but I don't mind. Believe it or not, I do understand.

JFK knew and understood the dissension there would be to his American University speech. He must have expressed this opinion previously. He knew and understood the opposing view. That is why he was so secretive. And, as he said, “to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived - yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.”

"We Are" The Solution

February 10, 2008

A friend sent to me a response to the Carroll article and in part stated:

"The change has to come from within us, the people.
The fruit of God's spirit is; Love, Joy, Peace etc. against such there is no Law.
The fruit of the unholy spirit (Satan) is Strife, Envy, Greed etc.
There are all kinds of Laws against that, but it is the heart of man that needs to be changed, and that can only happen when Christ comes in and makes
us new from inside out."

Moreover, most important included in this response was the statement:
"... it is the heart of man that needs to be changed, and that can only happen when Christ comes in and makes us new from inside out."

This has been my message in conversation and writing for a long time. The only difference between what has been written and my view is that mine is not contextually religious. "I Am" and "We Are" are important and profound concepts. I believe that the absolute, authentic, the very essence, and most profound message of Jesus Christ is that "The Kingdom of God is Within You." (The non-fiction book, "The Kingdom of God is Within You," is a book by Leo Tolstoy that I believe would be beneficial for any Christian to read.)

We are always looking outward to our external world bringing the outside inside instead of looking from inside our internal world and looking first for the best in ourselves. We have become followers and not leaders of our own destiny. We have let others lead. We look for Jesus or a Personal God to come in and help us when Jesus or God is already there. Because we are a government of “In God We Trust,” we trust the government to lead us with probity.

Even from within this understanding, I still do not understand how anyone who claims to be a Christian can support war; can support the death penalty; can support violence of any kind; can support taking a position of "strength," which usually means taking a militant stance, and who would consider seeking peace through understanding and negotiation as being weak. It is a hypocritical stance for a Christian to take. Our President, candidates for the office, and all previous Presidents have taken this hypocritical stance. It has been our history. This certainly is not the message of the "Prince of Peace."

If we could only create an understanding of this particular Christ's message in others, and through this understanding take appropriate non-violent action, Peace and Freedom would be ours.

It is within this context and within these words that it is what I mean by saying we need a new way of thinking. There is an underlying reality that needs to be recognized and explored --
"It is the unseen, not the seen."

The response to the Carroll article also included a reference on how to pray. In my view, Prayer is carried out through universal consciousness. It is part of the "unseen," the underlying reality. It has cosmological dimensions similar to the phenomenon of light, but it cannot be seen. In acknowledging the Weltgeist one will know how to pray. Attention always gives birth to intention, which leads to human action and consequently the fruition of prayer.

Collectively, this is all part and parcel of a new way of thinking.

This particular new way of thinking about our world and ourselves would create beneficial change in that we would embrace love, joy, and with peace experience freedom (without peace, freedom does not exist). It would create the impetus for a cultural shift and we could get rid of our primitive, archaic beliefs, and even our rhetorical archaicisms. We need to relieve ourselves of outdated and atavistic concepts. It would significantly marginalize strife, envy, and greed. As this cultural shift materialized, going forward, a beneficent and propitious world would evolve. We would evolve out of our archaic religiosity, out of our archaic and overbearing Keynesianism economic paradigm, we would find a better way of governing ourselves, and we would discover how we and nations should behave toward each other. The means and methods utilized in all of this, from religion to economics to governance, are nothing but coercive controls to hold us down and not allow us freely to move forward. Yes, in this world, even in religion -- all religion -- we need a new way of thinking.

I am aware that most people will accept the means and methods of economics and governance as being coercive, but not religion. However, if one really thinks realistically and honestly about that, they will ratiocinate that organized religion is coercive.

An authentic, absolute all-inclusive meaning of Peace and Freedom for our world was the passion of Jesus Christ. His message was a declaration of how to get there.

Peace and Freedom is also the desire of most Americans, our politicians, and candidates for President. For embedded in a politicians sophisticated rhetoric is the basic goal of Peace and Freedom for all. They think they know how to get there.

Our founding fathers did not understand the concept of absolute, authentic freedom. Our Constitution does not reflect the authentic, absolute all-inclusive meaning of freedom for all. Americans use this slogan also without an understanding of its meaning. For using the word Freedom is as American as "Apple Pie."

To be free means to be free all of the time (100% free, 100% of the time).

Without a new way of thinking, even our politicians, candidates for president, and those who vote for them, will fail to achieve their goals no matter how noble those goals may appear to be.

The mantra "yes, we can!" of Barack Obama is right on target. The problem is that it is a political slogan, a slogan to rally the troops in support of his candidacy, the democratic party, and to support change from a republican to a democratic administration, nothing more than that. The meaning of change under discussion by both democratic candidates simply means a change in faces and chairs, and of course, there will be some nuances of political change. I do not believe Obama really embraces the essence of his mantra's meaning.

Hillary Clinton certainly does not embrace a new way of thinking.

Mike Huckabee seems to be one of those hypocritical Christians.

McCain is a warrior.

Therefore, in my view, in essence, my friend and I are in absolute agreement.

"We Are" the solution to all of our problems.

I believe that someday that even we will be able to walk on water.

This may be a utopian view, but I have learned in my professional career that if one does set high standards and expectations what you will achieve will be mediocre at best.

With any of the candidates, a vote is a vote for the perpetuation of the war machine.

The Truth Is Too Rarely Perceived

February 4, 2008
In his February 4th article for the Boston Globe entitled
“JFK's torch for Obama,” James Carroll wrote about Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama for President of the United States. In his article he indicated that “the real meaning of that torch-passing was defined by where it occurred.”

On June 10th 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a
commencement address at Washington DC’s American University. Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama on the same stage from which his brother John Kennedy gave his commencement address to the graduating class of 1963. On that day, as Carroll explains, “At American University John Kennedy laid out an urgent vision for this country. He did not live to advance that vision, and it remains unrealized to this day.”

As Carroll continues to explain, “The most telling fact about the commencement address Kennedy delivered on June 10, 1963, is that Kennedy wrote it in secret. A small circle of trusted aides contributed to the text, but Kennedy kept the national security establishment in the dark about his intentions, which is surprising, given his subject. He came ‘to this time and place,’ he said, ‘to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived - yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.’”

The vision of President Kennedy, albeit of a different time and place is nevertheless applicable today. James Carroll concludes in his article that “That vision, conceived negatively, boils down to this: If humans do not change the way we resolve international conflicts, the planet is ultimately doomed to nuclear devastation. The abolition of all nuclear weapons, starting with our own, must be at the top of the new president's agenda.”

The important message of JFK’s speech is that we need a new way of thinking of how the United States interacts with the other nations of this world, and we must endeavor “To rekindle the flame of the American University speech.”