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Dan Berrigan: "How can people who are supposedly so wise, respond to realities in such a base or baseless manner?"

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"Make the connections between all the issues as activists and uncover the spiritual roots of our work for peace and justice....We're trying to discover what it means to be a human being in an inhuman time."--D Berrigan

In the Mid-1960s, a surprising face-to-face discussion took place at the request of the Kennedy family at a private retreat. This debate involved Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, and peace activist and poet, the late Dan Berrigan.

Robert McNamara stated in a somber tone to the Kennedy's who were present and who had invited both he and Berrigan to a private debate or discussion on war: "Well, I'll just say this to Father Berrigan and everybody: Vietnam is like Mississippi. If they won't obey the law, you send the troops in." Moments earlier, Berrigan had once again asked McNamara to end the war in Vietnam.[1]

Decades later, Father Dan Berrigan shared of his first reactions or thoughts on just how-off-the-mark McNamara seemed to be for him and many Americans. Specifically Berrigan stated in one Democracy Now interview,

"[T]his [Secretary of McNamara] was supposed to be [among] the brightest of the bright, one of the whiz kids, respected by all in the Cabinet, etc., etc., etc. And he talks like a sheriff out of Selma, Alabama. Whose law? Won't obey whose law? Well, that was the level at which the war was being fought."

This is the American leadership at War with Vietnam that I was born in and raised in during the 1960s and 1970s. I, like Berrigan, could not and cannot comprehend how America's so-called best and brightest continue to sound, in terms of promoting war and war making, like some high-horse Selma, Alabama Sheriff who is ready to beat up peace activists and civil rights marchers at a moments notice.

Has this been your American experience, too?

From the 1980s through the early part of this century, whenever I went to the nation's Capital to lobby against the USA's role in wars in Central America and later against the newer wars in the Middle East, I met time-and-again many such "bright people" from all over the USA working in Washington, DC who simply spoke like"inhuman beings [living] in an inhuman time."

Dan Berrigan wanted to encourage all of us though to plod on, often inviting others, "Make the connections between all the issues as activists and uncover the spiritual roots of our work for peace and justice....We're trying to discover what it means to be a human being in an inhuman time." [2]

I want to live my life like that.

Are you, your friends, your family and community doing the same?, I.e. "trying to discover what it means to be a human being in an inhuman time."

If not, please reorient your lives and our lives as a greater community called to do better than we are today.


[1] Daniel Berrigan: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Antiwar Priest & Poet , http://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/2/rip_father_daniel_berrigan_remembering_the

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KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

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