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.

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.

Yesterday, Congressman Dennis Kucinich posted on his website (http://kucinich.us/index.php) an invitation to suggest how he might continue to serve the movement should he be redistricted out of his seat in Congress next year, a very real possibility since Ohio is losing two seats in Congress and in view of the bitter partisan wars raging in Ohio and across the country. In case some of you may want to weigh in, he asks that options be sent to him at options@kucinich.us.

My own thoughts, which I have sent in to that address, are below.

Having worked in Dennis’ 2004 campaign for President and later with the national Campaign for a Department of Peace and now with the National Peace Academy, I have to concur that the operative word is “movement”. This is a movement to, as the Department of Peace legislation says, make peace an organizing principle of society. A culture of peace. It is a movement that spans the globe, not just with campaigns for ministries and departments of peace inspiring activists in over 40 countries on six continents but much more broadly with people everywhere – from the United Nations to NGOs to people in the street – calling for a culture of peace. What has come to be called the Arab Spring is a dramatic manifestation of that movement.

It is time. It is past time. We, humanity, have it within us to do better. In our own lifetimes (well, for some of us, anyway), the world has been blessed with the likes of Gandhi, King, the Dalai Lama, Mandela, Mother Theresa, and so many others, sung and unsung, who have inspired us to choose the road to a culture of peace, to join the journey of peace.

It’s nothing new, actually. The impulse toward a culture of peace has been an evolutionary imperative of the human journey from its very origins, as Jeremy Rifkin chronicles so eloquently in The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis.

Dennis Kucinich has been very much one of the leaders of that movement, as well. He has gone as far as he can, though, from inside government. I have long felt that his contributions can be so much greater from outside government. Not only outside government but, even more importantly, outside partisan politics, elective or otherwise.

In the first place, partisanship is, by definition, about separation and has evolved these days to its illogical extreme of being about battles to the death. A culture of peace is about oneness, coming together, working for the common good. Secondly, government as we know it was created out of the mindset of a culture of violence, and it cannot be transformed from within. To be truly a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” and with “the people” yearning for and taking steps toward a culture of peace, the shape and role of government (its form and function, as an architect might look at it) will arise anew out of the mindset of that culture. I don’t know what it will look like specifically, but I do know it will have to be designed from and operate by the principles and processes of peace. I also know that it will take all Americans (and those in other countries as well, for their own governments) coming together to figure it out.

And we can say the same for others of our institutions – the form and function of our economic systems, systems of justice, community systems, education, and so on – will transform, along with politics and government, to peace systems. That is, peace as an organizing principle of society.

I know that Dennis Kucinich can continue to be a leader and inspirer in that movement. He has already been a leader and an inspirer, but has gone as far as he can from within a partisan government context. What his own role will look like exactly going forward, I don’t really have a clear picture of but am confident that it will emerge as the conversation continues.

So, the redistricting may well be a blessing in disguise, and a necessary one at that.

1 comment:

  1. Mike

    A blessing in disguise, well said.

    The old adage ''It's difficult to remember the objective was draining the swamp when the Gators are nibbling at your ----'' comes to mind.
    Dennis Kunich has courage, a vision and a mission, none the less he deserves and more importantly NEEDS some time to rest and reflect.

    Reflection being the operative word here.

    It is possible that ''Redistricting'' may indeed be a blessing. As I view the ''Arab Spring'' demonstrations in Spain and the recent events in Tennerman Square Etc. I consider that until recent times it was only through history we could consider what were or was the trigger event or events that created a Revolution.

    Should redistricting be blatantly political to benefit the few rather than the actual producers in this nation (and the world) it might be the trigger.

    Today via the new planetary Neural Network (Internet and social networking) we can see revolution taking place, we can realize we are not alone, we realize the injustice being done by ''Governments'', Government in all it's forms and disguises, not just to us but to all the people of this planet.

    Thus people are sooner emboldened to ''Revolt'' sadly since revolutions are often driven by emotion rather than reason the results have usually been far less than expected.

    I recently watched a program on PBS TV about WW 1 and the Russian revolution.

    The explanation of the hijacking of the peoples revolution by Lenin should serve as a warning to those who yell Violent Revolution at all cost.

    Possibly after Rest and Recouping Kunich can guide a peaceful change from the outside precisely because he has an understanding of the reality of the inside.

    Hypocrisy Destroys