We begin again

Posted January 21st, 2009 in Blog, Featured 1 Comment »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Okay, then.

Watching the helicopter lift off with the old regime inside was a relief indeed.   Seeing the throngs on the Mall and those gathered to watch the inauguration here and around the world, to get a glimpse of what this looks like from the experience of those who lived through segregation and other egregious forms of racism…

Well, moving is hardly the word. That our new President drew such clear lines between the old and the new – this was also important.

Now, what do we do with the hopes and expectations we have placed upon this new administration in Washington? Surely if we look at the personalities, we see brilliance, talent, competence – but we don’t see paradigm-breaking, and a new paradigm is what we need.

President Obama has announced that he will have an open government, transparency, that he will listen to many voices before making decisions, and on this we need to take him at his word. We must relearn the meaning of citizen participation in democracy, because democracy collapses without it, given over to the exploiters, the power-hungry, the ideologues, those who can manipulate with money and insider influence, as we have seen in these recent years.

There is a faith we must reclaim in democratic governance. We must learn again that governance fails without the participation of the governed, otherwise it easily becomes tyranny. We must relearn that this means recovering not only a sense of the common good, but that it is our individual and collective responsibility to work towards it. It is not something to do on the side if we have the time; it is part of the meaning of being a human being on the Earth.

Now, we who love the Earth and fear for its future must really get serious about changing the social and political culture, so that a new economics can come into being. As we have noted before, one cannot resolve a crisis by recreating the very dynamics that brought it about.

We cannot recreate an economy of consumption that is depleting the Earth’s ecosystems and leading us towards another kind of crisis that cannot be resolved with a bailout, no matter the size. We cannot recreate an economy of vast housing developments and retail, of exurban sprawl and shopping malls, of ever-rising consumption of fossil fuels, of credit card debt that makes banks wealthy before it brings them to collapse, etc. without rushing headlong toward that other crisis, the one from which we will not emerge.

We have also said that this is not only a political work, but also a spiritual work, because it gets at the core of meaning, of values that shape our lives, of our reasons for getting out of bed in the morning. We will need a strong font of inner strength to help us through the transition in our way of life that must come if we are to pass on a rich, vibrant Earth to future generations. We will need a strong inner core to do the transition with a commitment to justice, not asking the poorest among us to bear the greatest burden and cost of the transition.

This ˜Great Work,’ as Thomas Berry called it, is the task of our generation. It has already begun in many communities around the world. Now we must attempt to make it a national priority.


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One Response

  1. Steven Earl Salmony

    A new day is surely dawning.

    It is now possible for us to “brand” the terrible leadership of the past eight years for what it is: a confederacy of dunderheads.