Of the people

“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”–Abraham Lincoln.

I’ve been thinking of these words in the past few days and reflecting on their meaning. It seems obvious to me that they no longer have any real meaning in the United States of America. I watched the President Bush’s speech to the nation the other night on C-Span. I was struck by the delusional nature of his rhetoric, but at the same time I was also frightened that this delusional rhetoric could spark an apocalypse. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision a nuclear war that will follow once Israel or the United States bomb Iran. Both countries are toying with the idea of using tactical nuclear weapons to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program.

The citizens of the United States of America overwhelmingly reject this idea, but we are powerless to stop it because our elected representatives say there is nothing that they can do constitutionally to hinder Mr. Bush. I couldn’t disagree more, but it illustrates the hypocrisy that has become the American political system. We espouse democracy abroad while denying it at home. The previous posting from “Every Church a Peace Church” speaks eloquently about what our president’s recommendation to us has been.

Only a few politicians have any real answers. One of my favorites is Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Dennis is way ahead of his time. He’s laughed off the stage by the petro-military-industrialist oligarchy that actually rules in this country. I am reminded of a similar era in Italy which spawned a young man with a vision. We need a new Francis or a renewed committment to Franciscan values which are actually the values of the Prince of Peace. Francis was ultimately of the people and was a lover of people. We have tremendous power which most of us fail to exercise and that is the power of love. The earlier rule of the Secular Franciscan Order prohibited the carrying of arms. Franciscans need to reclaim our heritage as peacemakers. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8.

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peace, social justice, franciscan, scripture