Friday, January 23, 2009

Yes We Can Develop Peace!

I have to write that I am pleased with some changes in our country since this past Wednesday. On his first day in office, President Obama has said that torture will end in all US agencies, he stopped the unlawful and obscene show trials at Guantanamo, he is ordering the closing of Guantanamo and all secret US bases around the world in one year (I think it should be sooner – much sooner – and I have concerns that they may be moved to another prison without getting a fair trial, BUT we shall see.) He has rescinded all executive orders from Bush going back to 9/11/01, which means that the ‘war on terror’ is over for now, and he is working on overturning the Military Commissions Act (a hideous piece of legislation from 2006).

Now, let’s see a complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq – not just a “drawdown” of troops. And let’s see a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan instead of an increase. It makes no more sense to bomb Afghanistan to find OBL than it would have made sense to bomb Murphy NC to find Eric Rudolph.

Unfortunately, we have not heard a word from Obama condemning the massive bombing and slaughter done recently to Gaza. He promises to get ‘engaged’ with the issues between Israel and Palestine, but every President has made that promise without any results. And let’s see REAL nuclear disarmament, and the end to lies about Iran’s nuclear program.

And this is the text of a prayer by Rev. Gene Robinson, given at the inauguration:

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic "answers" we've preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be "fixed" anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion's God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln's reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy's ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King's dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters' childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we're asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

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