Lighting Those Candles

Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse in a storm. In the public domain. Source: US Coast Guard.

By Kathie MM

Yesterday’s post by Lewis Randa, Director of the Peace Abbey, is a model letter for Donald Trump to consider sending to Chairman of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jung-un.  The post is also a beacon to all of us in these stormy, treacherous times.

In 1932, as newly-elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt undertook to combat the greatest threat of the times—the Great Depression—he spoke those immortal words, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Nameless unreasoning fear abounds today, but much of our terror is justifiednot because there are hordes of terrorists whom people in power are nevertheless  eager to name, but because of the all-too-real threats to the sustainability of life on earth.

Fear—for example, of fascism, of the National Security Administration, of terrorists, of losing everything—is destructive of hearts and minds, depressing and debilitating, and demoralizing in countless ways.

One common response to de-moralizing fear is to strike out,  to hurt, to punish, to destroy the target of one’s fear.

But  recognize this: Hatred and murderous aggression rarely lead to sustainable fear-reducing outcomes.

On the other hand, making love instead of war may be too passive and self-focused to confront fear and make the world a better place.

So, here’s a better antidote to destructive fear and feelings of helplessness: Engaging in prosocial activism, engaging peace.

Specific prescription: Engage in letter writing campaigns of the sort recommended by Lewis Randa. Send his letter, with or without your own modifications, to Donald Trump.

Or, write your own letter to President Trump, with your own recommendations for avoiding nuclear war, for achieving peace with North Korea, for making the world a safer and more life-sustaining place for coming generations.

And even more promising: Start your own letter writing campaigns or join existing programs that seek positive solutions to problems such as gun violence, sexism and racism, world hunger and poverty, environmental destruction.  Make loving efforts for peace, not war.

For further inspiration, listen to a recording of John Hall’s Power .

You can read the lyrics here.





This entry was posted in Children and war, Donald Trump, gun violence, national security state, Nonviolence, Pacifism, politics, Poverty, Protest, racism, Reconciliation and healing, resistance, Terrorism, Understanding violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * logo