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News ::
An Open Letter
22 Jan 2002
What Happened?
Hello Friends, I wrote this this morning in a moment of inspiration, despair and hope. I pray my thoughts were clear enough to convey something of value to someone somewhere.. Blessed Be

An open letter to my peers and their children.

      It is most often the passion and energy of youth that reminds us of the ideals which we have let whither in our day to day cares of survival and comfort. During the Viet Nam era, during the struggle against apartheid, in the ongoing civil rights and environmental movements and all movements for justice around the world, it has been mainly the young who have embodied the conscience that their elders have forgotten. As if it was just a dream to be discarded in the face of reality, as elders, our conscience often sits as a once inspiring and magical book now unopened, gathering dust in the attic, reduced to a souvenir or memento of youth. Yet, without the "blind" idealism and "naivety" of our children, the most critical issues of justice in our world are seldom faced. Having spent 50 years upon this earth, having been a part of the peace and justice movement of the 60's, I find myself wondering what happened to us? I don't have the same raw energy of my youth and hope and pray for our children to help us now. But my soul is troubled with the question of how we, those who once stood up and questioned, and imagined a world where love and peace are cherished, have not adequately conveyed to our children these values. How have we failed to create an environment in our homes and schools where questioning blind assumptions is considered a beautiful virtue to be nurtured? Why, after all our struggles, do we live in a culture where a persons worth and identity are determined merely by their success in climbing the economic latter? How can a man like Martin Luther King be portrayed mostly as a "dreamer", forgetting that he was a revolutionary whose "dreams" challenged our blind assumptions in such a powerful way that it cost him his life? Our president and other politicians invoke his name, never mentioning that he spoke unflinchingly against war with all his heart and soul. In our youth, would we have complacently accepted or turned a blind eye this blatant exploitation, this turning truth upon it's head? Oh, how we need the innocent idealism of our children now! But in the prevailing atmosphere of today, we are teaching them not to question and to our great disgrace, to actually be afraid to question! We are quiet as dissent is branded unpatriotic and worse, giving "comfort to the enemy". As we weep and despair for the violence that has too often manifested in our schools, we as adults still insist on attempting to solve the problems of this world with force, or sit by while violence is used in our name. We wonder why some children may resort to violence when they are in pain, bullied or frightened. So many movies and TV shows that my own peers have made a career of producing, depict this destructive paradigm over and over. We often lament that modern reality requires we compromise the purity of our ideals. Yet, far too often in history the brave messengers who have challenged this assumption offering an active non-violent paradigm for the world such as Martin Luther King, Jesus, Gandhi and so many others forgotten and unnamed, have been silenced by violence. It is shameful to teach our children the paradigm of force and power/over as realism, when so many of those women and men who come to appeal to us to consider a better way are silenced!
  So this is an open letter to my peers, remember the song "Teach Your Children Well"? Please allow and nurture your children's innate gift to question. Let's challenge the attitudes around us, from the schools, the media, the government and wherever else, that attempt to coerce both our children and ourselves not to question. Can we advocate open and honest dialogue and mutual respect? Let's wipe the jadedness from our eyes and open up that dusty book of our innocence and idealism and once again dare to dream.
  And to the youth, you have the right to question anywhere, any time, any place. Exercising this birthright is noble and good. You have the right to dream. Please try to look beyond the synicism we have taught you. It is YOU who can change (and yes) even save this world! Teach your parents! We, who may have retreated and become afraid and hypocritical need your courage desperately. The world needs you now, perhaps more than it ever has!
    Peace in Solidarity, Longbranch
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