Once You Knew

Idle No More NC

A friend recently introduced me to the poem, Hieroglyphic Stairway, by Drew Dellinger.  The beginning of the poem grabbed me, because it speaks to my experience:

it’s 3:23 in the morning

and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do
once
you
knew?

After participating Friday evening in an Idle No More round dance at the Bark House in downtown Nevada City, I spent the weekend watching  films at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival that takes place here every year.  Many of these films showed remote or familiar places of natural  beauty.   Some focused on environmental dangers, including climate change, fracking, species loss, and toxic pollution.  Many told the stories of courageous individuals taking creative action to preserve human communities and the natural world.  After introducing and watching the films at the Vets Hall on Sunday afternoon, I went home and slept for twelve hours.

It can be overwhelming to be confronted with so much information and so many opportunities for action.  When the festival celebrations are over, most of us return to our day-to-day lives.  How can we incorporate what we have learned into a way of being that will enable us to be a part of the change we want to see in the world?

This is a spiritual issue.  How can we develop the capacity to face the extent of global destruction without becoming paralyzed?  How can we find inner peace and take care of our personal responsibilities while doing our small part to bring hope and healing to the world?

I’ve found this to be a lifelong challenge that involves ongoing personal transformation as well as social action.  There are many spiritual paths, many faith traditions that foster spiritual awakening and moral development.  For me it begins with entrusting myself to the Love that brought the universe into being and following wherever that Love may lead, as Jesus did.

I don’t always know what to do.  But I do know that I am not alone, that people in my community and around the world are also awakening to the multi-faceted global crisis and taking action that will make a more hopeful future possible.  And I know that Love is sustaining us even now and can work through us for the well being of the whole.

Regardless of how things turn out for us as a species, our great great grandchildren will look back on this pivotal time.  Will this be the time of descent into environmental collapse and global chaos?  Or will this be the time of “the great turning” toward more compassionate and sustainable ways of being human?

Regardless of the outcome, the question will remain:

what did you do

once
you
knew?

Today’s Arraignment

Zinn quote

The courtroom was filled with supporters today as nine people faced arraignment in U.S. District in Sacramento for trespassing onto federal property at Beale Air Force Base last October  while protesting U.S. drone warfare.  Charges were dropped against four of the defendants:  Fr. Louie Vitale, MacGregor Eddy, Barry Binks, and Toby Blome.  We don’t know why their charges were dropped, but it could have to do with the fact that they were arrested separately from the other group, at a different gate.  The five of us who were arrested at the main gate are David and Jan Hartsough, Shirley Osgood, Janie Kesselman, and me.

The remaining five of us pled “not guilty.”  Yes, of course we engaged in civil disobedience.  There are videos showing that we blocked traffic, stepped across the line onto federal property, held signs, and refused to leave.  We tried to deliver a list of demands to the base commander.

I chose to plead “not guilty” by reason of necessity; that is, I acted in order to prevent a greater harm from taking place.  My co-defendants and I will be discussing defense strategy with our team of lawyers, who are working pro bono in order to help bring the issue of drone warfare into the public eye.

Our trial is scheduled for April 15, Tax Day.  That is the perfect day for this trial.  Beale is the home of Global Hawk Drones, which are used for surveillance and for targeting of weaponized drones.  According to the New York Times, the Air Force’s Global Hawk program costs $12 billion; the estimated cost for one of these drones is $218 million.  The Navy is on board with its own version of the program, for an estimated $11 billion.  That’s where our money goes.

For those of you who have Facebook, here’s today’s Facebook event site where pictures have been posted.  The Occupy Beale AFB website gives background and updates about scheduled events.  Earth Justice Ministries will keep people updated through our website, Facebook page, and email newsletter.  I’ll also be keeping people informed who follow this blog.

Thanks to everyone who is supporting our efforts to raise awareness about this issue.  Please pass on information and action opportunities as they become available so we can turn the tide against global domination through violence and sow the seeds of world peace.