Winter 2003"The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: ‘This way of settling differences is not just’... A nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Surely, a war looms. Do we support it? Will we take a stand against it? Are we willing to consider how our governments actions will effect each of us? Zen books preach the necessity for detachment, the need to remain detached, objective, so that we aren’t controlled by events outside of ourselves, so that each day isn’t ruled by external events beyond our control, so that we are not constantly victims of happenstance. We are always so careful, always so afraid of being wrong, afraid to be "on the wrong side" of an argument, so afraid that our position will wind up, in time, to be proven wrong and we will be made to look like fools. In the Vietnam War era, the protesters didn’t have all the information they needed to make a well-informed decision; they had no way to know for sure if their actions were "'right". They didn’t know if the governments claim that Communism would cause all the dominoes to fall was a "right" conjecture or not, But the protesters acted with their hearts and their conscience. They were brave and took action, they took to the streets to stand up for something that they believed in their hearts to be a just cause. Where are the ones today who are taking action?
I spent Martin Luther King Day in Washington at a service honoring Dr. King at the National Cathedral. Afterward, the entire congregation began a cold, but peaceful, protest march to the White House, where we held a candlelight vigil led by Bob Edgar and Jim Wallis.
I spent last week in Georgia, preparing for our mid-career retrospective. One night, I had to talk my parents out of their evening routine of watching The O’Reilly Factor. I tried to explain that it is not healthy, that it just makes them anxious and makes them despise those who have different points of view. I tried to explain, that, we need to be finding the things we have in common with other people, not accentuating our differences. I suppose that this kind of television, which is loud, obnoxious and strongly biased, has become the normal fare in once sedate households all across America. This type of programming pretends to be news, but is really nothing more than entertainment. It creates resentment and hate. I gently suggested that we watch something else. We watched "The Two Jaspers".
Last weekend, everyone came down and we all enjoyed the wonderful Gala celebration at the Columbus Museum. My parents, my family and friends, all viewed the Heartland exhibition and dined and danced. The show looked great. But, I was particularly thrilled with Will, who took the stage with Eric Bazilian and sang a beautiful rendition of "One of Us".
It was nice to be ‘home’’. The late afternoon winter light filtering across Alabama and the Chattahoochee is gorgeous. Columbus is the original home of Coca-Cola, and the home of Fort Benning, The School of the Americas. I’m glad to be back in Philadelphia, back in the saddle and painting again.
OK. Regarding our future and where we are and what we need to be doing...If I had even a small inkling that this administration was operating out of Love, instead of Fear, that there was even a smidgen of awareness behind their motivations, perhaps I could trust the decisions that they are making regarding our lives, our families lives and the rest of the world. But, given the lack of evidence that Iraq is an immediate threat or that they have any direct connections to Al-Queda, this proposed war appears to come from other motivations, either from conscious covert imperialism or from the leaders of this administrations own psychological pathologies. I can't help but think that they are operating out of issues of fear and shadow projections. To thrust this agenda on the American people under the guise of the ‘War Against Terrorism’ is a weak argument at best and manipulative at worst. If evidence is presented which proves that Iraq is involved in the activities that the administration claims, then I will stand corrected. I reserve the right to change my mind, but at this time, I stand resolute in my opposition to the proposed War with Iraq.