Friday, November 16, 2007

Accidental ruminations of a peace activist

Haven't had much time for blogging these past few months. I would never have suspected, back 30 or so years ago when I became a librarian, that the job could become so hectic and stressful. Sometimes I look back over my day --or my week-- and wonder just what I've accomplished. Do I produce anything? Do I perform a service? Am I really an educator? Not so sure anymore.

Anyway, my job is not what I want to blog about tonight. Though I may have been too busy to write much these past months, that hasn't kept me from reflecting ... ruminating might be the better word...

A few weeks ago I wrote about some counter-demonstrators --they prefer to be called pro-victory advocates who hold "victory rallies" -- who had joined us peaceniks ("moonbats" the pro-victory crowd calls us) in front of the county courthouse on Saturday mornings. I mentioned a young, attractive, articulate pro-victory woman who blogs, takes videos of us that she uploads to YouTube, and regularly ridicules us. Although the young woman has lately taken to befriending us, approaching some of us, asking our name, trying to make small talk, she remains obsessed with our group's coordinator and demonizes her relentlessly on her blog. Her associates post comments calling our coordinator all sorts of obscene names, and during the vigils they shout accusations at us through a megaphone from across the street. "Every time you march you get another American soldier killed..." I was letting all this upset me.

Didn't help any that some of those who stood on our side of the street were unable to keep their composure and chose to yell back at the pro-victory crowd. "We're working for peace, you s.o.b.!" -- Wow! Now there's something that emanates from a genuinely peaceful soul :-)

I'm also our Quaker meeting's FCNL contact (Friends Committee on National Legislation). I get various emailings from them concerning proposed legislation related to the war and the issue of torture, with information on Congresspersons to contact. Oh, and did I mention that a few of us started a local anti-torture organization affiliated with the National Religious Campaign against Torture? NRCAT launched a campaign to get churches in the U.S. to show Ghosts of Abu Ghraib during the week of October 13. I was in charge of getting publicity out to local newspapers, and I also attended several of the local showings to participate in the discussions. (Seeing that film multiple times is devastating.)

Ah yes, and then last weekend was Veterans Day. I really don't know what got into me, but I posted a comment to an editorial that appeared in
America. I still can't get over my own brazenness. I mean, talking back to the Jesuits! I must really be losing it. However, I made a new cyberfriend along the way. It was his response to the America editorial that prompted me to write mine. We've had a few exchanges, and he introduced me to the Center for Christian Nonviolence, and the teachings of Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, a Catholic priest of the Eastern (Byzantine) rite. I've listened to a few of Fr. McCarthy's talks and have been really inspired and strengthened by them.

So, I've spent a lot of time ruminating on things, such as :

  • respect for our flag and country raised to the level of idolatry
  • our national defense devolved into a policy of national vengeance
  • the natural, healthy desire for security that has morphed into almost hysterical fear, even leading to the justification of torturing "high-value" detainees (and quite a few prisoners being held for no good reason)
  • our democratic republic that has become rule by the military-industrial-congressional complex
...and wondering if we're not really crazy after all, we moonbats, who try to touch at least some of this with the spirit of Christian nonviolence.

However...all in all, amid all the work and stress at my job and the antics of the pro-victory folks, the Spirit has managed to deepen my own inner sense of peacefulness and my understanding of what Christian nonviolence means.

Must be what Jesus meant when he promised us peace, "not as the world gives it."

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