There used to be a custom in American families that on the fourth of July, the Declaration of Independence would be read aloud to remind everyone present of the ideals upon which the nation was founded. This has fallen sadly out of fashion; perhaps in the age of the sound bite we could at least read this bit to our children, before it winds up on the scrap heap:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [The rest of it is here.]You know I seldom get political in here, but you know I also do not support (and never have) the present war in Iraq. Of course, there is only so much one can do about it. I'm not over there fighting in it, and I keep voting for people who say they're going to try to end it.
My opposition goes well beyond that particular war to encompass all wars, everywhere. I'll still pray for peace in Iraq even after the Americans leave, although I think our leaders have done their best to ensure that the ruins will smolder for generations.
There's a protest being staged in Chicago, and I plan to be there. I like the format because it's not the usual march-and-shout affair. If anything, the descriptions of the planned action suggest it will raise no more than a murmur, and that on the shore of Lake Michigan well north of the center of the city.
It's called "Prostrations for Peace," and a blog of sorts has been established for it here, with details about where and when and how. I heard about it through a message the Buddhist Peace Fellowship sent to the Zen center where I practice. In spite of the name, the action isn't only for practitioners of Yoga or Buddhism, which makes me like it all the more.
My participation will be 108 prostrations, each with the intention I've made every morning since I became a Buddhist: May all beings attain enlightenment. Enlightened beings, you see, do not blow one another to smithereens in the name of religion, patriotism, or cheaper gasoline. It sounds to me like a pleasant change from the present arrangement.
How is touching my forehead to the ground 108 times in a public park going to help stop war? I don't know. I just have to believe it will. I can't sit here and do nothing. And as we still have 500 or so days left to go before our august warlord scampers back to his ranch (he should only stay there) there's precious little else I can do.
By the way, I know there are a lot of new readers in here lately, and I'm glad you're here. If you find this post disconcerting, please understand that along with Franklin the knitter and Franklin the cartoonist and Franklin the gay dude with the talking sock yarn, every so often you get Franklin the tree-hugging peacenik.
Tomorrow, back to knitting. Specifically, the mathematics involved in working a lace shawl. Hotcha!