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Political Change

Andre SheldonThe world is waiting for something good to happen. What if people unified for a common goal? If there was a world-wide unity campaign, would it change the political status everywhere? What could be the unifying component? To answer these questions I evoke the name of Robert Kennedy.

Kennedy gave a speech in South Africa, June 6,1966, at the height of Apartheid. His speech was given to people living in South Africa but addressed a means for change that affects everyone. To explain his ideas, he discussed the idealism required to initiate pragmatic steps and the difficulties of attaining the goals. Kennedy profoundly knew that there must be a vision of the big picture to be able to set change in motion. He said “only the ideals of humanity and love can climb the hills of the Acropolis.”

The main idea that Kennedy recommended was to enthuse the young! He said, “…the world's hope; it is to rely on youth.” What if there was a global campaign to influence the young – to illustrate for the young, the desire and the dedication to resolve conflict nonviolently? If a campaign were to be successful, governments around the world could devote funding for helping humanity, beginning with the young. Instead of spending money for war (destruction) and rebuilding, constructive humanitarian programs could be developed. The children living now, and the children of the future will have an example to live by.

This idealism would be difficult to promote because of four major reasons, according to Kennedy. He called them dangers. First is the danger of futility. The second danger is that of expediency. A third danger is timidity. The fourth danger is comfort. Kennedy goes on to say that the dangers can be overcome!

To meet these dangers, or obstacles, it will take fortitude, courage, and a special desire. The forefathers of the U.S. illustrated their courage but would have been killed as traitors if the Revolutionary War was lost. They had to have idealistic convictions to revolt.

Others in history have revolted against the norm. In a PBS special, The Story of India, Michael Wood described the Buddha as a “ragged denouncer,” for he went against the religious and spiritual teachings of his time. The message Buddha taught has resonated through the generations.

The time has come for new inspiration. Kennedy’s alluding to the children offers a profound insight to finding global unity and political clout. Research shows that people in every country want to protect their children. Therefore it is proposed that working for the welfare of the children should be the primary focus for unity. A global strategy of nonviolence, for the children, would resonate through the ages.

How can people unify if there is fear of other people and cultures? If the fear was diminished, then the ability to work together will be amplified. What if there was a group, that was represented in every culture and country, that promoted the children as a means for unity? There is a group whose potential is untapped, whose efforts with children are unquestioned, and that has been organizing, uniting, training for change of consciousness – Women.

Why are there women’s groups for change? Is it because women are working to promote themselves or is it because they are working for humanity? In the 1850’s, a woman immigrant to the U.S., Ernestine Rose, was appalled at slavery and the lack of freedom for women. She thought the Declaration of Independence was written to give freedom to everyone. Rose joined Susan B. Anthony as an ardent spokesperson for women’s rights, justice, and human rights – against incredible odds.

Rose was ahead of her time and so profound, that if she lived today, she would be ahead of today. She said, September 8, 1852*, “In claiming our rights, we claim the rights of humanity; it is not for the interest of woman only, but for the interest of all. The interest of the sexes cannot be separated—together they must enjoy or suffer—both are one in the race.”

This is a test for men as well as women. Most people do not want war. If men fought in every war, and people do not want war, is it not logical that women should fight to prevent it? Men should be courting women to prevent war, if they truly believe they don’t want war.

Rose stated what is needed beautifully - “…to face the fire of an unjust and prejudiced public opinion, to attack the adamantine walls of long-usurped power, to brave not only the enemy abroad, but often that severest of all enemies, your own friends at home, requires a heroism that the world has never yet recognized, that the battle-field cannot supply.

That courage is needed now more than ever! To start a proactive movement to set an example “for the children,” there must be vision and determination to unify enough people so that the objectives become political reality. Conferences are not enough. Education is not enough. Every aspect is needed. It can be done!

The road to success is not going to be easy. Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” YES, the people will win! The efforts for change – to stop war, for the children, will become political – then universal!

Starhawk wrote about women standing for peace as the representation of a “vision of strength.” “Real security can come only when we weave a global web of mutual aid and support. As we make larger connections and take action together, we must assert what we as women know to be true: compassion is not weakness, and brutality is not strength.”

Peace and Love,

Andre Sheldon
Director, Global Strategy of Nonviolence
Developer and Facilitator of initiative called a CALL to WOMEN
Cell # 617-413-9064
Home # 617- 964-5267

* - Mistress of Herself, Speeches and Letters of Ernestine L. Rose
Edited and Introduction by Paula Doress-Worters
Feminist Press at the City University of New York, New York - 2007

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