It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Revolutionary Evolution toward a Culture of Peace:Inside-Out, Bottom-Up, Topsy-Turvy

Earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, uprisings of the oppressed, nuclear meltdowns, global economic and financial collapse. Of historic proportions, all around the world, and all virtually in the blink of an eye.

And what of peace? In this revolutionarily evolutionary, topsy-turvy world turning upside down, what can peace mean? What is the role of peacebuilding in such a world? How do we go about it and make it practical in our daily lives, no matter who we are or what we do?

Friday, May 20, 2011

On the Move with Climate Change

In 2008, a National Intelligence Assessment judged that “global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years.” Later, in 2009, National security analysts and policy makers further concluded that “changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics.”

That about says it. Whether you believe climate change is human caused or just another swing in a long history of natural cycles, either way this is the situation. If you do not believe climate change is happening at all, then you can just skip this post and put  your head back in the sand.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Service, Service, Service: Sargent Shriver and Peace Corps

I entered Peace Corps service in late February 1966 (for posting in Nigeria), less than a month after graduating from UCLA. Three days later, the Peace Corps’ founder and first director and JFK brother-in-law Sargent Shriver left the Peace Corps. Sarge Shriver died four months ago at age 95.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's Next for Dennis Kucinich?

In October 2002, 13 months after 9/11, Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio spoke at the Foundation for Global Community in Palo Alto, California. I couldn't believe a national political figure could so eloquently transcend the day-to-day political issues and battles and articulate a profound vision of the spirit and power we have within us as Americans and as humans to make this a better world for all.

Five months later, after he had announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004, I eagerly helped organize the Silicon Valley for Kucinich campaign. That experience led me to the Department of Peace Campaign in the U.S. and around the world, and now to the National Peace Academy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ends, Means, Torture, and American Ideals

The ends do not justify the means. 
Ignoble means only demean otherwise noble ends --
and those who follow them.

Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. No matter what proponents of torture say. No matter if torture produces useful "intelligence," which even  experts say it doesn't, not even in the Hunt for Bin Laden.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Born in Boyle Heights

I suppose this post falls in the category of a personal recollection, a whimsical musing the accuracy of which, having been recorded through a child's eyes and then filtered through the mists of memory, I cannot vouch for.

When I was born we lived in a court on San Benito Street in East Los Angeles, an area known as Boyle Heights. I remember nothing of that time on San Benito Street but do have memories – some faint, some  vivid – of returning several times over the next four or five years for visits with Aunt Sarah and Uncle Charlie, who lived in the next court over.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fundamental Insights into What Makes America America

I recently read the book, The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family by Andrew Himes. Whatever your personal views are on American Christian Fundamentalism, Andrew Himes' The Sword of the Lord is a must read on many levels for anyone interested in understanding a little more -- a whole lot more -- about U.S. history, particularly about one of the defining elements in how we came to be who and what we are today as a nation.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden is Dead: Thoughts and Feelings on Justice and Victory

Last night came the big news of Osama bin Laden's death in a U.S. commando raid on a luxury, fortified compound in Abottabad, Pakistan, not far from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. The punditry has already begun and will certainly continue to flood the airwaves and netwaves in the hours and days and weeks to come. The meaning and implications of this momentous event will be sliced and diced from myriad perspectives -- political, military, historical, religious, economic, legal, and so forth. Here are my own two cents: feelings and thoughts on justice and victory.