Friday, November 9, 2007

peace group forming

The Source
Letters to the Editor
Re: Madison Anti-war Group Forming

Dear Editor, November 9, 2007

In our market-organized society, people tend to sense the occurrence of crises only through the narrow lens of prices. But by the time a social or political crisis begins to affect prices, the crisis is already well advanced. The crisis of American power in the Middle East was masked until September 11. After that day, this crisis has grown clearer, not only to close observers of the region in Madison, but even to apolitical citizens, through the rising price of gasoline.

It has often been said that indifference to politics, even stupidity, is the right of citizenship in this country. I beg to differ: rather than a right, indifference is in fact a privilege. Moreover, this (fool’s) privilege is fast disappearing as the crisis overseas spreads to the shores of the nation, in the form not only of rising prices but in political failure at the center. The situation is akin to the spread of a cancer from some small corner of the body to the central organs. The days of suburban – and American -- insularity are disappearing. One can buy security, but not peace of mind.

I welcome this new age with a spirit of openness and possibility. Terrorism and war need not entail greater defensiveness and hostility: peace is a choice made of courage.

I would like to welcome people interested in taking a deeper look at American power beyond our shores to join an anti-war group to meet in Madison. Guilford, which has long had a peace group, possesses a proud tradition of civic engagement. We Madisonians need not sit on the sidelines, narrowly focused on our own “island” of investments and privileges. In any case, this island of class privileges is intimately connected to American power in the world. Whether one wishes to preserve these privileges or distribute them differently, it is our duty as citizens to understand the linkages between morality, power, and privilege. The era of optional attention to the undersides of power is ending. Rule by experts is no longer working: greater democracy is the only (good) answer.

For anyone interested in such a group, please e-mail me at We can decide the shape and format of this group together.

Thank you,

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