There is a lot of turmoil today since the Wisconsin anti-labor bill was passed. They were able to vote on it, even without the absent Democrats, because the Republicans stripped the bill of financial provisions—thus allowing them to vote without a quorum. There is a lot of grief, anger, and disbelief among the people I know. I am avoiding the paper and the online web reports because I just don't want my spirit to deflate.
Instead, I am focusing on what I believe to be true:
- That nearly everyone – even the Republican politicians – want Americans to live full and healthy lives, with happy children, access to healthful nutrition and good education, and adequate medical care. We just differ on how to make that happen.
- That we are polarizing our discussion about the ways we are different. Some of those I admire, like Michael Moore, feed that division.
- That it is possible to speak clearly, and strongly, without blaming or attacking others, and without backing down.
- That there really are some who are greedy, and there are some who are manipulative. They tend to have a lot of power, so it will cost us something to oppose them.
- That every human being, including those who are greedy and manipulative, have a spark of the Divine in them that has the potential to transform greed.
- That speaking to that spark in the way that Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. did, will do more to transform our economy and our country than any amount of political discourse, angry discourse, or name calling.
- That we have more power together than we have alone.
- That the oppression and greed of a few simply cannot stand up against the power of millions.
- That we will receive what we envision. If we envision battle and fighting and anger and fear, that is what we will get. If we envision strength, courage, and victory, that is what we will get.
- That it is up to us and no one else to transform the economy so that the children are cared for. So the old people are cared for. So we are all making a living wage. So we know our savings accounts are safe. So we are able to buy and keep our homes, and live in them. So we have the means to grow or purchase healthy food to eat, to see health practitioners if we are sick. And so we know that our freedom to get these things is protected, so we don't live as slaves without choices.
I believe these things because I have experienced them. I know the power of the spark within that can lead my tongue in ways that help, and don't harm. That can turn the darkness in my soul toward the Light. That can open my heart to compassion when I am only feeling judgment and hatred.
If that can happen within me, it can happen within the heart of Governor Scott Walker or Governor Rick Snyder. And if it doesn't, then they will have to face millions of nonviolent, determined voters who will not let this pass.
So – any who know the tools of nonviolent campaign, we need you now. Any who know how to listen and do motivational interviewing, we need you now. Let us not comfort ourselves by numbing with our televisions and newspapers. Nor let us feed the seeds of anger and hatred that are so ready to sprout among us. Let us pray, sing, gather, and be confident in our power to effect change on behalf of the future generations. It depends on us and no one else.