Liberty Yell: Our Time, Our Place

By Matthew Sperling on Aug 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM in Liberty Yell

Liberty Yell: Our Time, Our Place

Be a witness and look at the front page and page eight of yesterday’s New York Times. You will see the corpses of men, women and children killed in a chemical attack in Syria. A chemical attack is what the evidence points to, and it is still being determined who committed this mass murder. The chief suspect is the Syrian dictator.

There is nothing unusual about mass murder. There are many countries in which such wholesale death has been meted out. America has done it. Russia has done it. China has done it. Which few countries have been spared from such carelessness about our sacred lives? How many tens of millions of people have been disposed of? How many hundreds of millions of other living creatures have likewise been murdered, and for what reasons? When and where do we find it in ourselves to stand up for life?

We have built weapons of mass destruction and created a way of life with cars, cigarettes, countless carcinogenic chemicals, drugs which sicken rather than heal, systems of miseducation in which consumerism is taught more effectively than good citizenship. We have yielded our humanity to live in what, due to our mortality and the vagaries of chance, is always temporary comfort. We are living in and passing along a world that is the definition of mass destruction. So much of the ground we stand on, the air we breath, the water with which we quench our thirst, has been turned into something which is poisoned rather than preserved.   

If we cannot cry for ourselves, or for the creatures of the oceans, forests, mountains, and plains harmed by our carelessness, is there a tear to shed for the youngsters who must follow us into this world?   

If we cannot cry with our hearts, those same hearts will never be strong enough to rescue us. It is deepest horror and remorse which may yet save us. Each tear an act of will, of having resolved to leave the shells we ignorantly call our lives, when the only real life is to protect life.   

If we turn our backs on the dead in Syria, in Egypt, in China, in America, in Russia, across this world, it is our backs which will be exposed to the knife.   

Live long by living right. To live otherwise is to live a restricted life. You are in a prison without locks and keys. No power needs to jail those who always obey.   

Love who you are, and you will have a chance to love everything else. You are a person of courage and integrity. Just lift your eyes and see this world dying in front of you and waiting for you to change the course of history, along with the billions of other honorable human beings alive in this unique moment.   

Seven billion people facing a relative handful of rulers. Seven billion against so few. Think and heal. Heal yourself. Heal this world, so that one day we will belong to more of this universe, belong to what we see across galactic distances. We can become the people of a beautiful earth exploring and finding even more of ourselves in the name of that spirit which protects us and gives us strength and hope.   

If you want to know how to do this, ask yourself, your friends, family, neighbors. No one knew how to take kings and queens off their pedestals, until it was done. No one knew how to bring gay people out of the closet, African-Americans out of slavery, children out of the mines and factories, women to live in greater equality. No one builds a world any other way than by building it.   

Everything takes its own kinds of hammers and nails. So pick up your tools and begin, or carry on what you have already started. Everything depends on what you do.