“Because this is a moment in history that needs us to begin, each of us everyday at her or his own pace, slowly and surely rediscovering how to be politically active, how to organize our disparate into effective group action…” (Kushner 170). In Kushner’s piece, he discusses how extremely vital it is for citizens to become actively aware of the inequalities the upper class orchestrates. Without the working class becoming conscious of the system in which the rich continue to thrive off their aggressive labor, the scheme will continue and will only hurt the weakened majority in the process. If the middle class were to become politically aware and consistent in their beliefs as a group, who knows what we can all accomplish.
The most essential element to organizing a movement is togetherness.
“And suddenly I realized something wonderful is happening. The Israelis and the Palestinians can talk to each other…” (Starhawk 381). In Starhawk’s writing he recalls a time where he witnessed a sort of miracle. Israeli and Palestinian young adults hanging out despite their religious beliefs and past ethnic rivalries. If the two most alienated groups can learn to confide and relate to one another, then why can’t we learn to assimilate those values here in the U.S.? It just goes to show that when we all learn how to connect with one another on a more personal level, change is possible.
The new government had not removed the corpses, so that the church was like a mortuary, with the bodies lying as they had fallen the year before during the massacre (Tutu, pg.451).” Tutu describes his trip to Rwanda where he saw the remnants of a church massacre in person. This astonished him with the fact of how humans can act towards other humans if they want. People just take others lives without any second thoughts, its just an instinct for them after repetitive killings. Starhawk was in Palestine where one of the people with the movement was purposely killed by a bulldozer and two other men were shot by Israeli soldiers. People never understand how important life is to people that are just barely clinging to life on their own. When they later went to the village they saw Israeli and Palestinian men together laughing and having a good time. This shows that even if someone is considered an enemy, we are all humans and enjoy the same things, one being living our life peacefully and enjoying it as well.
“I believe our despair is a lie we are telling ourselves” and that is a very strong issue to tackle in itself. I actually compliment Kushner for saying this because it’s a harsh reality. There are many things I disagree with in his chapter but he finds my support here. People love to find a problem and deem that to be the reason for their failure. People love to judge, fear to be judged, and loath self judgement. Michael Jackson said it the best, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror/ I’m asking him to change his ways/ And no message could have been any clearer/ If you want to make the world a better place/ Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”. This message of self-addressing is key for any success.
Life is so fragile and limited, but we take it for granted. We take what we got and blind ourselves of how beautiful everything is. Time is limited, growth is limited, our very existence will approach its short-lived end. Seeing someone who is having a harder time living life or a handicapped person can remind you of how much of a blessing it really is. Henri Nouwen’s piece, “Fragile and Hidden,” focuses a lot on how we don’t understand how truly deep live is and spending time with somebody disabled can open your mind. The author says, “Adam cannot speak. Adam cannot walk. Adam is what some people might call “a vegetable.””(148)
Nouwen makes a point about the handicapped young man, that “being with him gave me a sense of being closely in touch with living.”(148) Adam sees life in its sincere beauty, and he is not as able as a regular person.
We also degrade life in general with our phones and other modern technologies. Nothing social seems to be done in person anymore and the author Tony Kushner writes about the problems in society today, being a “Supreme Court that gives corporations more rights than people”(201) and that “people of the world either have no access to power or have access but have forgotten how to get it and that’s why it is important to have it.”(201)
We all need to cut the crap and fix these world issues and “turn off the fucking computers, leave the Web and Net and show up, our bodies at meetings…”(202) All of us have to work together on these issues to improve life and not throw it all away with our eyes glued to computer screens. We need to improve education to study more about life and make its limits become limitless. Kushner makes a brilliant point that when the “the supernova” comes, to destroy every world in its radius, “we should be able to say proudly to the supernova, that angel of death, “Hello supernova, we have been expecting you, we know all about you, because in our schools we teach science and not creationism…” Life should be learning and experiencing unknown, it is fragile and limited to what we make it.
To extrapolate on the theme of unity, Starhawk’s story of his night in the village of Mas’Ha, which is located in disputed territory controlled by Israel and Palestine, supports the idea that all people share bonds with one another. “We sit around the fire while two of the men prepare us dinner, laughing and talking. And suddenly I realize something wonderful is happening. The Israelis and the Palestinians can talk to each other, because most of the young men speak Hebrew. They are hanging out around the fire and talking and telling stories, laughing and relaxing together. They are hanging out just like any group of young people around a fire at night, as if they weren’t bitter enemies, as if it could really be this simple to live together in peace.” Despite the fact that Israel and Palestine have been in a state of constant disputes and war for decades, the people living in the two countries are still able to treat one another with respect and dignity. I believe this supports the idea that all humans are united by common emotions, feelings, and goals; without the pressures of society, religion, or government weighing down on people, they will likely be peaceful and treat one another with respect rather than violence.
Another idea represented in the readings is the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. Specifically, Tutu brings this point up in “No Future Without Forgiveness.” In the text, Tutu describes his encounter with Rwandans after the genocide that devastated their country. “I told them that the cycle of reprisal and counter reprisal that had characterized their national history had to be broken and that the only way to do this was to go beyond retributive justice to restorative justice, to move on to forgiveness, because without it there was no future.” Tutu’s argument is that harsh punishments for past crimes is not always the best way to resolve a dispute. In fact, it can make a situation worse by spreading feelings of resentment and expanding the crisis, both in terms of how long it lasts and how many people it affects. In my opinion, the idea of restorative justice seems much more effective than seeking punishments. By rebuilding connections between different groups of people and seeking punishments only for those who truly deserve it, a crisis can be resolved much faster and with less resistance from all parties.
On the other hand, Alice Walker and Starhawk seem to focus on inequality between different groups. As shown through the title of Alice Walker’s essay, Only Justice Can Stop a Curse, she talks a lot about how protecting your home will ultimately protect mankind. She continues to discuss different crimes that have occurred against all kinds of different groups and ways that this can be stopped over time. Ultimately, she tries to remain positive and believe that the world, and the people within it, is good. “I have learned to accept the fact that we risk disappointment, disillusionment, even despair, every time we act. Every time we decide to believe the world can be better. Every time we decide to trust others to be as noble as we think they are. And that there might be years during which out grief is equal to, or even greater than, our hope. The alternative, however, not to act, and therefore to miss experiencing other people at their best, reaching toward their fullness, has never appealed to me” (Walker 429). This quote really stood out to me. Although she may face times when she is disappointed or upset, Alice Walker refuses to not act and fight for change.
“I believe our despair is a lie we tell ourselves” (Loeb, 170). I interpret this as a philosophical way of viewing one’s tyrannized independence. You’re only really deprived from your freedom if you decide to accept the fact that you are. Living in such a detriment society, the only choice people have is to fight their way to take their purloined humanity rights.
“Not any single one of us has to, or possibly can save the world, but together in some sort of concert …. the world will change” (Loeb, 170). By this statement, Kushner stresses on how we are strong individuals that can make a change, but to CHANGE THE WORLD, we must come together. United, we can indeed vanquish all of the unelaborated authoritarian rules. Sitting around and no making an effort to refine the domesticated population.
Changing the nation around you makes your population look stronger as a whole. It doesn’t disappoint when you look back at it. “Maintain the world by changing the world” (Loeb, 170). In order to keep humanity liberal, we must constantly change it because over time the rules people have on others change. I believe that in order to become a powerful and amalgamated nation, people must first come to conclusion that they do deserve freedom and liberty just like everyone else. Once they accept the fact, they must turn to each other and unite their capabilities and share their positive energy towards equality.
Kushner doesn’t make a clear stand on how he feels about people’s attempts or affairs of political reason. He says that “since I was a little kid I’ve been told I have choices, the right to make a choice.” But then goes on to say that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice”. Don’t get me wrong, he supports justice, rights for people, and all the other clichés of a good leader. He just doesn’t seem to care about who or what’s going on, long as it’s done. Only speaking vaguely about vague issues, arguments through emotion. To say the first quote listed implies that we have a choice, that we have control of the world around us. Then Kushner runs from this implication by saying the second quote. If the universe only bends toward justice, why try? I care for the standpoint of the need to take action, I agree with Kushner in that regard. People need this type of push, but they need guidance beyond the start.