A time for nonviolence
I have been reading many of the threads on here lately, and as many of you know I have been rather critical of the tactics I see. I took a bit of a car ride tonight with my partner to go and buy a birthday card for my mom. On the ride to and from the store, I was giving some serious processing time in my little brain to some of the conversations I have see here. I decided that there was 3 main things that have bothered me about some of the latest SoulForce actions I have seen, even though I fully support the actions, I may not always support each step of the means.
The first thing I feel that sits funny with me is that I am not sure Soulforce's actions are always nonviolent, yet I see right in the right hand corner of my screen that is the goal. "Freedom for GLBT people from oppression though the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance." It is that theme that drew me to Soulforce in the first place because it so agreed with my beliefs in nonviolence. I had read many of Mel White's articles some of the best of which are not here on this site, but even the writings that are here are wonderful essays on the spirit of nonviolence. BUT then I read some of the threads from those who wish to be part of this movement but don't partake in the spirit of this movement. Gandhi once said:
'tactics of nonviolence without the spirit of nonviolence may become a new kind of violence"
I think what he was saying is that to fake being nonviolent is just as violent as.....violence. For each of the speeches Dr. Martin Luther King gave, he preached nonviolence. It was a huge part of the goal. Even Rosa Parks had left a nonviolence training before she was arrested on the bus. Many of the most powerful direct actions in the history of man were done by people who believed as much in nonviolence as they did the cause they were fighting for in the first place. I wish so much to see a group dedicated to nonviolence and civil rights for gays and lesbians. I think the difference I see is that the civil rights movements of Martin Luther King and Gandhi focused on nonviolence and not just the cause. The focused on the "end" but they also really focused on the "means". Gandhi stressed in every speech he gave how important it was for noviolent resisters not to fight back. He told his followers that Rivers of blood may flow before we win our freedom, but we must be sure that blood is ours. The emphasis was always on nonviolence. How can we reach that goal with Soulforce. How can we get Soulforce to have that same dedication to nonviolence and gay rights that previous movements have had.
The second thing I thought about was dialog. We are looking for dialog, I hear this in many places, but is it our goal. Is our goal about have a talk? SHouldn't our goal be reconciliation? SHouldn't we be more focused on finding the win-win that nonviolence strives for in solving this conflict?
The last thing I thought about as we were pulling into the driveway is that it is easy to forget that our adversaries are here on this site with us. They are reading what we write. We must be just as nonviolent here on this board talking about the situation as we are on the front door of James Dobson's house. As Gandhi said, nonviolence is not a coat you can take off on put back on at your leisure. It must be with us at all times. I so hope my fellow Soulforce supporters can explore this within themselves and be choosing in the things we say and post on the forum. Reminding ourselves daily that the same people we wish to make our allies are here with us reading these boards. Stop right here and click to see who is online in the "quick links". See all those guests? Those are our future allies and friends. They may be our adversary now, but when we show them the truth, with love with relentless nonviolence, they soon will be our allies.
I hope I have said this in such a way that no one has taken this wrong. I just so believe this is the hope for us. I know this can work. It must work, not just for gays and lesbians but for all parts of our lives. Violence is everywhere anymore. Video games, movies, schools, kids, it is all filled with violence. People today are more okay with seeing a violent shoot out on the Television than they are with seeing loving committed gay couples raise a child. THere is way more of an effort to stop gays from adopting than there is to stop violent video games that really hurt our kids. There is more of an effort to stop gay marriage than there is to stop kids from joining gangs and killing each other over a $10 haircut (yes, this happen in my state).
As we continue to fight in Iraq, and kids continue to need to pass through metal detectors on the way to math class, as we continue to be denied the right to walk the streets together in love without being beaten for our race, religion, age, gender or sexual identity, than I have never more believed the time for nonviolence in now, today, this moment. Look in the phone book and find the nearest nonviolence training and take it!
Thanks for letting me vent!