Thursday, November 04, 2004

Post-election Hope

On November 2, fear trumped hope.

Our task in the days and weeks ahead is to make hope triumphant again.

The one thing that those in power want us to do right now is step back, let down and give up.

We at the American Friends Service Committee refuse to stop because we see a way forward that will propel people to act on their best hopes, not their worst fears.

We are in a struggle for the soul of this nation. What is at stake is whether we define morality in the narrowest of individualistic terms, or whether we hold to a higher standard of genuine care of all of our sisters and brothers in the world community. Will the moral standards of this nation be exclusively personal, or will we hold up the beloved community?

As much exposure as we have had with Eyes Wide Open, studies tell us that 3 out of 4 Republican voters still believe that weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq and that Iraq had ties with al qaeda. A recent University of Maryland study tells us that only one in ten people in the United States know that over 10,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the war.

So we are keeping Eyes Wide Open, our memorial the the human cost of the Iraq War, traveling throughout the United States. We are booked through mid-April in the South and West Coast with scores of requests for next spring and summer in the Midwest and East Coast.

Whatever the meaning of the November 2nd vote, it was not a mandate for war.

The election is over, the war is not , and our resolve has just begun.

Our struggle in the longer arc of history is to make hope ascendant again. That long arc of history seldom bends for long toward deception and lies. The proud are finally brought to their knees and military might, no matter how great, is not the final arbiter of ultimate victory.

In this post-election period, the struggle now passes from the political parties to civil society, organizations like the American Friends Service Committee that are here day in and day out educating, organizing and speaking out about a reality that too often stays hidden from the eyes of our nation. The struggle now passes to you and I to build the infrastructure for peace that government and political parties refuse to do.

Remember, over 50 million people voted against the Iraq War. That, in a nation saturated with Fox News type reporting and a nation blanketed with reactionary talk radio, is quite an accomplishment. That still remains an amazing number of people who were not fooled. Remember, we have more power than we think, but a little less than we need.

We continue forward, with eyes wide open, creating new openings as others close behind us. That, we feel, is the nature of this work. Obstacles lead to opportunities if we dig in and accept them as problems to be solved, not insurmountable barriers that deter us from moving forward. And we will...keep on moving forward.


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