What Now?

I’ve been through several national elections. Sometimes the Democrats win and sometimes the Republicans win. It’s what we Americans do. The reins of government are passed on to a new administration peacefully. It’s what we do.

So, why is there rioting in the streets? Poor losers? I don’t think so. The rioters don’t love Hillary so much as they fear the Donald who, judging by his campaign speeches and his recent cabinet appointments, defies so many standards of decency, so many departures from the Bill of Rights, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount and all the Earth Charter principles. The fear of a Trump administration is not about partisanship. Rather, it feels like time-honored bedrock values are under attack.

What can Earth Charter people do to protect these endangered values?

Get more vocal. Attend rallies, sign petitions, write letters and volunteer for Earth Charter related causes you feel are important.

Say a firm “No” to all forms of bigotry and discrimination. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports “Between Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after the presidential election, and the morning of Monday, Nov. 14, [SPLC] collected 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment… Venues of harassment included K-12 schools (99), businesses (76) and universities (67). Common also was vandalism and leafleting on private property (40).”

Say a firm “Yes” to people over profits, protection of the planet over pollution and conservation over consumption. Buddhist scholar, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, uses the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict to illustrate the point. “The pipeline represents a worldview that sees the earth as in essence a source of raw materials to service our economy. From this perspective, humanity’s task is to exploit the earth and bend it to our purposes, primarily the production of commodities to feed the fickle appetites of a consumerist culture. It is a worldview that prioritizes monetary profit over a vibrant planet; that puts immediate gain over the needs of future generations; that commodifies everything it sees and looks with disdain at the very idea of the sacred. He goes on...

“Those arrayed against the pipeline — the Native Americans and their allies — hold a different worldview that entails a different set of priorities. This is a worldview that esteems life values over market values. It is a worldview that understands water is the source of life, an irreplaceable substance far more essential than petroleum. It recognizes that, with sufficient funding and political will, we can obtain all the energy we need from the sun and wind and geothermal sources. And it sees the ideal relationship of humankind to the earth to be one of care, stewardship, and reverence rather than reckless exploitation.” This worldview is heart and soul of the Earth Charter.

Ponder this challenge offered up by Cornel West: “For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.”

For our children’s children,

John Gibson  

P.S. The photo, shot by ECI's Executive Director, Jim Poyser, was created by 9 year-old Abigail, an Indianapolis student who attended Sunday's Indy Kids Peace Rally.

Andy Fry