Glenda has called on her readers to post for peace today. It's the 4th of July--Independence Day--after all, and there are more of us than you might think who don't instantaneously connect the making of war with the making of greatness. I am regularly made heartsick by what I see going on in our nation and in our world, as you know. Some of you seem to get a little bummed out from time to time about my critical concerns related to race. But I am not critical because I got out of bed on the wrong side on a given day. I am not critical because I am afraid of power. I am not critical because I have issues or I want to be on top. I am critical because I love life--in all its forms. I love babies (even when they smell funny). I love birds and trees and butterflies. I love fresh-faced, eager students. I love drill teams with drums. I love stand up comics and spoken word artists. I love big city web designers and folks growing watermelons in patches of rural Florida. I love people willing to memorize lines and get up on a stage, risking possible humiliation, to entertain or to teach or just to connect with the rest of the human race. I love life. Even when it doesn't look like me. Even when it doesn't speak my language. Even when it has a different way of talking to God/dess.
See, the fact is that I'm alive. And the life in me calls out to the rest of life on the planet. Despite the way I may be seen from time to time, I do not think it's all about me. I think it's all about Me. That is to say, I think, you and I and the butterflies and the drill team members and the babies and the people in Iraq and Iran and Darfur and Palestine are me. I'm not somehow "up here" while you or him or her or it is somehow "down there." And once that idea gets up in your head, you can't say "ho-hum, they're bombing (again)." You feel the bomb hit and you scream in your soul and agonize over the Grand Ignorance of it all.
A couple of days ago, I came across a reference to "the hundredth monkey effect," a phenomenon first observed by Lyall Walson in the 1950's on an island where he and some other scientists were studying macaques (a type of monkey) and later popularized by Ken Keyes, Jr., in a book on the topic. Apparently, the scientists were dropping sweet potatoes on the beach for the macaques to eat. The macaques liked the sweet potatoes, but didn't like the taste of the sand. So, over time, a few of them learned and taught each other to wash the potatoes in a stream before eating. Eventually, however, (the process took over a decade) when the hundredth monkey learned the technique, the entire macaque population took to using it and almost immediately macaques on other islands--even distant islands--took to using it, as well, with no way to imagine how the information had been communicated. Thus, the term "critical mass" was coined.
So, I'm posting for peace today. Maybe I'm not the 100th monkey. Maybe only the forty-second or the eighty-sixth or the third, comparatively speaking. But I doubt that the macaques were counting. I doubt that they were shooting for an ultimate result. The ones who carried their potatoes to the stream were probably not blogging about it at the time or even trying to drag their friends down to the water. They were probably just washing their food and enjoying how much tastier it was without the sand.
And all those macaques grinding their teeth on that gritty sand--not realizing that it could be otherwise--just thought that's what they had to do to survive. Until critical mass was achieved and then they made the shift as if they couldn't have done it before.
Glenda called for posting for peace. In the interest of peace (world and otherwise), I'm calling for:
* an end to the war in Iraq, bringing the troops home now;
* immediate release of all political prisoners currently held anywhere in the world (including Guantanamo Bay and the U.S.) as a result of the decision-making of any branch of the U.S. government;
* an end to U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and any other lands that have not requested it (which, to my knowledge, includes everywhere we have perched a military base); and
* immediate economic and philosophical commitment to: fair trade practices world-wide; cessation of all violence against women and children; safety, opportunity, and respect for all people of color; and a massive re-organization of the U.S. "justice" system (including all prisons and jails) with the expected result of mass immediate releases of non-violent prisoners and the placing of drug addicts into appropriate facilities.
That oughta get us started. We don't need to eat sand. There's a better, more excellent way to live. Come on down. The water's fine.