Theologian and activist Cornel West was interviewed recently about Barack Obama’s presidency. It’s 26 minutes of prophetic Christianity engaging both the noble democratic experiment and American empire.
How do we fight social injustice when so many seem to have lost hope? According to provocative intellectual Cornel West the answer is simple – love. “We are living in catastophic, catatonic, and catalytic times, says West, but we must face them with compassion.
Some of us in the peace movement work really hard to keep our young people out of the hands of the war machine that preys on disadvantaged young people in inner cities and poor rural settings.
To see a demographic that is (without appearing to stereotypes) traditionally better educated, more politically progressive, and economically advantaged fight to join this killing machine is very disheartening.
I can see how one could view the repeal as a step forward, framed in the context dictated by the political elites of the Washington beltway. I can imagine much displeasure amongst the military brass – but I cannot reiterate enough how this is not a progressive moment in the social history of the United States.
The US military is not a human rights organisation and nowhere near a healthy place to earn a living or raise a family. My email box is filled with stories of mostly straight soldiers and their families who were deeply harmed by life in the military.
I also appreciated the response from Hank Stuever, a Washington Post writer and author of the book Tinsel, to Sheehan’s piece:
Here’s something you would never hear from the gay-rights crowd about DADT, certainly not here in the epicenter of defense spending and military careers, but nevertheless, I find it curiously spot-on: Just because you CAN join the military, is it the morally just thing to do? Cindy Sheehan (remember her?) making a very good point in an essay for Al Jazeera — THAT’s how fringe this thinking is. But it begs the question: Are there ANY peace activists in the gay-rights movement?
Authentic movements for social justice build allies across lines promoting human dignity. As Dr. King said in Montgomery, “This is a conflict between justice and injustice.” The only real question is which side are you on.