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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Violence - A Decision, Not an Inevitability

Friends Libby and Len Traubman, colleagues in building a world of peace and nonviolence, recently published an article called "Pre-Deciding about Violence".  They cite evidence to make that case that physical violence, ranging from corporal punishment of children to nations going to war, only breeds more violence and has proven itself time and again to be self-defeating and counterproductive. We have a choice, they argue, of whether to continue down that  path or to adopt an attitude, strategy, and way of life of nonviolence, empathy, compassion, and dialogue, which have been shown to be more effective in both the short and long runs.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The President’s Final State of the Union Address

Following President Obama’s final State of the Union address on January 12, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough posted on the White House website a summary of the President’s proposals related to the four questions he posed to guide our thinking about and taking action to shape the future. Included there is an invitation to the public to submit their own thoughts and recommendations regarding each question. The following is what I submitted there.

I applaud the President for choosing in his State of the Union speech to focus above and beyond not only the day-to-day political sniping but also above and beyond the usual laundry list of incremental tweaks to parameters of this or that policy or this or that program. Quite right that it's time (past time) we focused not just on the next generation but the next seven. The world is changing so fast that we can't rely on past experience for lessons about how to face the future. Rather, we must really think creatively, outside the box.