The future is open and ours to create. The COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide demonstrations triggered by the George Floyd murder are an opportunity to remake our world. It is an absolute necessity. Reality has visited us with a vengeance, unveiling the economic and racial inequities that plague us and making visible the underlying shifts in society that have been simmering for years.
Local Veterans for Peace and nonviolent demonstrators in downtown Asheville show their patriotism by advocating fairness and justice for all. At a deep level, it includes love, compassion and empathy embedded in the truth, the good and the beautiful. At their very best, peacemakers are expressing a vision of unity and building relationships. It is a sign of hope, a beacon of light for us. But it is not enough to just hope or talk about it. Action is required.
Nonviolent demonstrations reject not only destruction of property, but violent, demeaning language. We will never find peace within our hearts if we go on blaming and hating those who are different. The use of our free speech to fight violence with violence is merely a replacement of one diabolic force for another. Nonviolence needs an entirely different energy: the energy of love that heals and brings us closer. One cannot merely dabble at this. Participation is required.
Our problems are daunting. We can’t fix everything at once, nor can we merely rely on the government, but we can change ourselves. We can resist divisive language and support the ideals and virtues and allow the spirit to move our hearts. There is no action too small. We can pick one or two issues to focus on, or if this is not possible, simply pass on friendship, a smile or respect to people you come in contact with.
And, as many do, simply toot the horn or give a thumbs-up to the Veterans for Peace who vigil every Tuesday downtown.
We each have a gift to do our thing, but it may take living where your fear is. It requires you to leave your comfort zone. I envision a New America where spirituality is a field of awareness accompanied by practices of human energies, bringing us together in a field of kindness, goodness, truth and beauty. Our task, as Albert Einstein suggested, is to “widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
We can start by transforming our local schools. Parents, teachers, all of us have a profound moral and spiritual responsibility of educating our children and transforming our way of life reflected in politics, the media, colleges, entertainment, sports and religion. And we in our local areas need to accept this responsibility in our small part of the world.
— Ed Sacco