Voices of Peace
Nobody Left But Us
by Sam Smith
Editor of the Progressive Review
If you're waiting for someone in power
to do something useful about this mess, forget it. The axis of violence Bin Laden,
Sharon, and Bush has turned this into a war of alternative terrors, the only certainty
being that, by their bidding, somewhere, somehow, more innocent people will be killed
or maimed. In this country, those of influence who should rebel against the madness
are too cowardly, incompetent, or complicit to raise their voices. And even if they
did, the media would pay them no mind, preferring instead the sociopathic festival
of death and brutality in the name of nationhood and patriotism.
So it pretty much comes down to us. Just as in every great moment of moral crisis,
the fatal flaw of power is to prefer position to principle and to assume that position
is an outward and visible sign of inner, invisible grace. Just as in every great
moment of moral crisis, it is left to the weak to speak the truth, the outsider to
find resolution, and the unannointed to carry out responsibilities that our elected
representatives swore to fulfill but have so carelessly jettisoned.
There is a great coalition of conscience waiting to be formed, but at the moment
it consists of millions who, thanks to the effectiveness of government and media
propaganda, have yet to realize that they are not alone. Once that discovery has
been made and oh how the apostles of violence seek to prevent it then the way to
sanity will start to open. If, say, those opposed to the present course represent
just twenty percent of the country that's bigger than any lobbying group in America.
If that twenty percent were to demand a few basic policies such as Palestinian statehood,
an end to the Iraqi embargo, and the commitment to non-violent resolution, the illusionary
national unanimity so heavily based merely on fear of offending or looking foolish
would start to unravel.
Any community could help to get this
rolling by bringing together concerned citizens willing to stand with others and
to say in a group what they have been reluctant to express singly. Religious leaders,
writers, teachers, and others not a part of the machinery of power could play a major
part as could those whose reputations are not dependent on the blessing of the political
and media structure. What started as a few people setting an example could spread
until it becomes a national and international movement.
There could also be a non-official initiative in the form of a national or global
Internet petition to those in power to cease their earth-threatening behavior and
to accept a few basic principles of decency.
And finally, there could be some symbol perhaps a revival of the peace icon of the
60s to make visible our rejection of the ways of our leaders and our commitment to
There are, to be sure, a wealth of other tactics demonstrations, boycotts, civil
disobedience. But it seems that nothing could do more sooner than to find a number
of ways in which those who do not wish to join the axis of violence can declare their
rejection and know they are not alone.