Jim Douglass: Why It’s Up to Us, the People, to Practice Satyagraha (Part 10)

The most important book for any American to read is JFK and the Unspeakable: Who Killed Him and Why it Matters by James D. Douglass.

Douglass’ investigation into the secret papers finally released during the Clinton era begin to uncover a deadly “family pattern” of behavior in the highest levels of political power. Now, Douglass has written an important article for Tikkun magazine that looks at how the pattern is being repeated again between President Obama, Gen. Petraeus, and Afghanistan.

Below is Part 10: Why It’s Up to Us, the People, to Practice Satyagraha

The ultimate reach of Lilly’s question is a challenging one for us all, and President Obama’s mention of Gandhi is a seed of hope. The month before his election as president, Barack Obama also invoked Gandhi as an inspiration, on that occasion Gandhi as the community organizer of a massive, nonviolent revolution. President-to-be Obama said Gandhi’s portrait “hangs in my office to remind me that real change will not come from Washington — it will come when the people, united, bring it to Washington.”

Obama’s pre-election Gandhi statement included a reference to the war in Iraq: “We’ve watched our standing in the world erode as we continue to lose American lives in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.”

Candidate Obama’s words on Iraq apply with equal urgency today to the war in Afghanistan and a threatened war in Iran, in the context of a global strategy of war on terror that, as Gandhi would say, “is not the way of truth.”

John Kennedy recognized that the wars he was pressured to wage on Cuba, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union, all claimed as strategic parts of a global war on communism, were not the way of truth. With great courage, he turned away from those wars, and from the false ideology of war that justified them, to the truth of peacemaking. Had he not done so in the Cuban Missile Crisis, our planet would now be a nuclear wasteland. We can give thanks for the courage that took him to Dallas.

Yet the vision of Gandhi and King, and the words of Obama, remind us that the impetus for the kind of nonviolent change that is the condition for our survival “will not come from Washington — it will come when the people, united, bring it to Washington.” To the powers that dominate the president and the world, the most unspeakable reality of all would be our discovery as a people, all over this country and this globe, of a force more powerful than war.

The arc of the universe bends toward justice on earth, if we can believe in it and act on it. Let it be.–James Douglass, from JFK, Obama, and the Unspeakable

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