We need to remember
where we came from; to know that we are one. To understand that
we are of an undivided whole: race, color, nationality, creed, gender
are beams of light, refracted through one great prism. We begin
as perfect and journey through life to become more perfect in the
singularity of "I" and in the multiplicity of "we";
a more perfect union of matter and spirit. - - This is human striving.
This is where, in Shelley's words, " . . . hope creates from
its own wreck the thing it contemplates." This is what Browning
spoke of: Our 'reach exceeding [our] grasp'. This is a search for
heaven within, a quest for our eternal home.
In our soul's
Magnificat, we become conscious of the cosmos within us. We hear
the music of peace, we hear the music of cooperation, we hear music
of love. We hear harmony, a celestial symphony. In our soul's forgetting,
we become unconscious of our cosmic birthright, plighted with disharmony,
disunity, torn asunder from the stars in a disaster well-described
by Matthew Arnold in Dover Beach: " . . . the world, which
seems to lie before us like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful,
so new, hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude
nor peace, nor help for pain. And we are here, as on a darkling
plain, swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where
ignorant armies clash by night."
Beach is upon the shores of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.
Our leaders think the unthinkable and speak of the unspeakable inevitability
of nuclear war; of a nuclear attack on New York City, of terrorist
attacks throughout our nation; of war against Iraq using nuclear
weapons; of biological and chemical weapon attacks on civilian populations;
of catastrophic global climate change; of war in outer space.
When death (not
life) becomes inevitable, we are presented with an opportunity for
great clarity, for a great awakening, to rescue the human spirit
from the arms of Morpheus through love, through compassion and through
integrating spiritual vision and active citizenship to restore peace
to our world. The moment that one world is about to end, a new world
is about to begin. We need to remember where we came from. Because
the path home is also the way to the future.
In the city
I represent in the United States Congress, there is a memorial to
Peace, named by its sculptor, Marshall A. Fredericks the "Fountain
of Eternal Life". A figure rises from the flames, his gaze
fixed to the stars, his hands positioned sextant-like, as if measuring
the distance. Though flames of war from the millions of hearts and
the dozens of places wherein it rages, may lick at our consciousness,
our gaze must be fixed upward to invoke universal principles of
unity, of co-operation, of compassion, to infuse our world with
peace, to ask for the active presence of peace, to expand our capacity
to receive it and to express it in our everyday life. We must do
this fearlessly and courageously and not breathe in the poison gas
of terror. As we receive, so shall we give.
of the world, we send peace as conscious expression where ever,
whenever and to whomever it is needed: to the Middle East, to the
Israelis and the Palestinians, to the Pakistanis and the Indians,
to Americans and Al Queda, and to the people of Iraq, and to all
those locked in deadly combat. And we fly to be with the bereft,
with those on the brink, to listen compassionately, setting aside
judgment and malice to become peacemakers, to intervene, to mediate,
to bring ourselves back from the abyss, to bind up the world's wounds.
As we aspire
to universal brotherhood and sisterhood, we harken to the cry from
the heart of the world and respond affirmatively to address through
thought, word and deed conditions which give rise to conflict: Economic
exploitation, empire building, political oppression, religious intolerance,
poverty, disease, famine, homelessness, struggles over control of
water, land, minerals, and oil.
We realize that
what affects anyone, anywhere affects everyone, everywhere.
As we help others to heal, we heal ourselves. Our vision of interconnectedness
resonates with new networks of world citizens in nongovernmental
organizations linking from numberless centers of energy, expressing
the emergence of a new organic whole, seeking unity within and across
national lines. New transnational web-based email and telecommunications
systems transcend governments and carry within them the power of
qualitative transformation of social and political structures and
a new sense of creative intelligence. If governments and their leaders,
bound by hierarchy and patriarchy, wedded to military might for
legitimacy, fail to grasp the implications of an emerging world
consciousness for cooperation, for peace and for sustainability,
they may become irrelevant.
the world over merge, they can become an irresistible force to create
peace and protect the planet. From here will come a new movement
to abolish nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.
From here will come the demand for sustainable communities, for
new systems of energy, transportation and commerce. From here comes
the future rushing in on us.
How does one
acquire the capacity for active citizenship? The opportunities exist
every day. In Cleveland, citizens have developed the ability to
intercede when schools are scheduled to be closed, and have kept
the schools open; to rally to keep hospitals open; to save industries
which provide jobs; to protect neighborhood libraries from curtailment
of service, to improve community policing; to meet racial, ethnic
and religious intolerance openly and directly.
begins with an envisioning of the desired outcome and a conscious
application of spiritual principles. I know. I have worked with
the people in my own community. I have seen the dynamic of faith
in self, faith in one's ability to change things, faith in one's
ability to prevail against the odds through an appeal to the spirit
of the world for help, through an appeal to the spirit of community
for participation, through an appeal to the spirit of cooperation,
which multiplies energy. I have seen citizens challenge conditions
without condemning anyone, while invoking principles of non-opposition
and inclusion of those who disagree.
I have seen
groups of people overcome incredible odds as they become aware they
are participating in a cause beyond self and sense the movement
of the inexorable which comes from unity. When you feel this principle
at work, when you see spiritual principles form the basis of active
citizenship, you are reminded once again of the merging of stardust
and spirit. There is creativity. There is magic. There is alchemy.
the United States are now uniting in a great cause to establish
a Department of Peace, seeking nothing less than the transformation
of our society, to make non-violence an organizing principle, to
make war archaic through creating a paradigm shift in our culture
for human development, for economic and political justice and for
violence control. Its work in violence control will be to support
disarmament, treaties, peaceful coexistence and peaceful consensus
building. Its focus on economic and political justice will examine
and enhance resource distribution, human and economic rights and
strengthen democratic values.
the Department of Peace would address violence in the home, spousal
abuse, child abuse, gangs, police-community relations conflicts
and work with individuals and groups to achieve changes in attitudes
that examine the mythologies of cherished world views, such as 'violence
is inevitable' or 'war is inevitable'. Thus it will help with the
discovery of new selves and new paths toward peaceful consensus.
of Peace will also address human development and the unique
concerns of women and children. It will envision and seek to implement
plans for peace education, not simply as a course of study, but
as a template for all pursuits of knowledge within formal educational
not inevitable. War is not inevitable. Nonviolence and peace are
inevitable. We can make of this world a gift of peace which will
confirm the presence of universal spirit in our lives. We can send
into the future the gift which will protect our children from fear,
from harm, from destruction.
the pediment which sits atop the marble columns is a sentinel at
the entrance to the United States House of Representatives. Standing
resolutely inside this "Apotheosis of Democracy" is a
woman, a shield by her left side, with her outstretched right arm
protecting a child happily sitting at her feet. The child holds
the lamp of knowledge under the protection of this patroness.
sculpture by Paul Wayland Bartlett, is entitled "Peace Protecting
Genius". Not with nuclear arms, but with a loving maternal
arm is the knowing child Genius shielded from harm. This is the
promise of hope over fear. This is the promise of love which overcomes
all. This is the promise of faith which overcomes doubt. This is
the promise of light which overcomes darkness. This is the promise
of peace which overcomes war.