Saturday, October 19, 2013


A lot of talk about revolution nowadays. I'm not exactly clear what it means when people suggest that we could use one. It's best to only talk for myself. I clearly believe we could use one. My belief is that capitalism and democracy cannot work together as they have both developed. I'll spare you all the details except to tell you that I was schooled by a Marxist sociologist, who was both my adviser and mentor. (That was in the 60's). Between Hegel and Marx, I was reading how bureaucracy's work and minoring in political science. Combining all that, I believe the government today does not represent the average American, but represents the rich and corporate America. It seems government always comes down to representing one or the other. The balance is allusive. Today, lobbyists and greedy politicians, bought and paid for by corporate America, have swung the balance in favor of the rich.
The question for today's revolutionaries is: So now what?
How do we change a system bent on relegating us to "second class citizens?" During the days I was in college, this tension was being played out by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. One, Malcolm, suggesting the violent overthrow of the government, while the other, Martin, suggesting the overthrow of oppressors by nonviolence. That sums up their strategies a bit simplistically, but suffices for this discussion.
After college, I attended Bethany Theological Seminary, associated with The Church of the Brethren.  Dale Brown, a professor there, was probably one of the leading, if not the leading, authority on pacifism and nonviolence. He helped me to understand the theological significance of both, which I have attempted to follow since 1972. My first act of defiance was to give up my divinity deferment and report for a physical. I intentionally attempted to flunk it. I flunked the written test, which they made so anyone with a first grade education could pass, and the eye test. They sent me to see the psychiatrist. He asked if I was intentionally attempting to get out of induction. I asked if that would be considered crazy. He didn't answer. I stated I thought it would be insane if I didn't attempt to get out, that I had no quarrel with the Vietnamese and did not want to kill any of them. He told me to leave. Luckily, my draft board agreed to change my status to conscientious objector.
As my life developed, I became a family therapist. My focus became on changing people. It wasn't long that I began seeing that revolution included both changing society and changing oneself. Both have to occur simultaneously if you are to be successful,  Working to make your life better, and attempting to transform your family, neighborhood, community, state, and country for the better, have to go hand-in-hand.
Some days it seems futile, particularly when your have politicians in it for themselves and their rich friends, but still, it's the best I can do. The contradictions are many, and the successes few, but in the end, nonviolence, justice, and perseverance will prevail. Or at least, I sure hope so.

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