New Year's resolutions come in a lot of shapes and sizes. I don't think New Year's 2009 is a year to aim low. So, I'm resolving to create peace on earth. And I intend to follow through. The catch, of course, is that unless a couple of million other people make the same resolution and really commit to it, then I will have been a liar.
I do think just a couple of million people would be enough, especially if they are heavily concentrated in the United States, and the closer to Washington, D.C., the better. I think it will be easy to spread the word and reach two million people who want peace. I think we could find them without even setting foot outside Washington, D.C. The question is one of commitment, time, energy, and resources. Do you just want peace or are you willing to endure some inconvenience and unpleasantness to get it?
I get paid to work for peace, so I have no business asking anyone else to devote more time to peace work. But that's exactly what I get paid to do and I feel guilty only when I hold back from doing it. I am resolving this New Year's to increase my own efforts in solidarity with those increasing theirs. I am resolving to do everything I can to encourage as many people as possible to do everything we can to launch a lasting peace.
Everyone has different skills and resources to offer. Some have money. And most who do have money, have no idea the extent to which they have more than others. The organizations that do the most for peace are constantly scraping for pennies. Some have access to people and groups who need to be influenced. Some have skills at speaking or writing, for broad audiences or with small groups or individuals. Some have artistic abilities. Some have information, knowledge, sources that can prove invaluable. Some can produce videos, photos, or reports. Part of this resolution must be a full examination of what we each have to offer and a commitment to offer it even if it means a little less comfort, troubled relations with certain parties, time taken away from other priorities.
Whatever unique resources we each have, we all have the ability to take part in mass actions by phone, Email, mail, and especially in person. We cannot always all make it to particular locations. We cannot always all risk arrest or jail time. We cannot always all take part in fasting. But part of this New Year's resolution is recognition of the essential ingredient of mass action in any movement for peace and a commitment to push ourselves past the point of comfort, and to encourage others to do the same.
On January 6th a new Congress will begin, and on January 20th a new presidency. What ever our hopes and expectations are for this new government, it is important to recognize that in a democratic society ruled by a representative government, an active citizenry is both the surest protection of our rights and the highest praise. To sit home and allow the government to act without us would be to treat it like a dictatorship, and would increase the likelihood of it behaving like a dictatorship. When we elect representatives we take on the responsibility to constantly let them know how to represent us. If history is any guide, elections do not bring peace, but what happens in between elections can.
This January, there are things that you can do to get us off to the right start. Below is a calendar that includes numerous events in Washington, D.C., and a few national events happening all over the country. Please resolve to make this a month of major impact for the creation of peace on earth.
1/1-31 Georgetown: The Peace Mural, the unbelieveable 2,000 paintings exhibition of art on war, peace, and torture that the Vietnamese-American artist Huong has on display in a 10,000 square foot galllery on M Street in Georgetown: http://www.peacemural.org
1/1-31 Busboys and Poets at 14th and V Northwest and 5th and K Northwest: place to hang out and eat and drink and groove.
Here's Congress's Schedule: PDF.
1/6-31 Ask Congress members to sign onto Rep. Nadler's resolution against Bush pardoning crimes he authorized, and Rep. Lee's H. Res. 1535 rejecting the Iraq Withdrawal Agreement as unConstitutionally created without ratification by Congress.
1/2 Peace Mural concert at 7:30 p.m. Details.
1/6 Capitol Hill: March of the Dead on Opening Day of Congress: help us carry the names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and demand that Congress end the occupations. JOIN US!
1/8 Madam's Organ: Peace Center Happy Hour. Details.
1/9 Warmonger's Wake at DC Peace Mural at 7:30 p.m. Details.