“Marching to Victory”
April 6, 2003–The world is on the brink of discovery. It will soon be challenging the systems that have brought us to this point in history.
We learned recently that an institution that has long labored for humanity has been brought under scrutiny for covering up sexual abuse of children. These events in the United States have had an impact world-wide as leaders grapple with remedy for injustice, and continued service to an increasingly disturbed following. Trust that is so essential for leadership has eroded; yet those currently in power seek to preserve the past and build the future. We know that damage to the psyche of the followers will take time to heal. The question is whether the healing can occur in time to save the institution.
Injustices in this major religion have also caused us to begin to question all religions. Are there other cover-ups? Are followers being exploited for personal gain? Are church positions regarding war and sacrifice consistent with the teachings of the religion? Are the interpretations of the teachings relevant to a changing world, and if so, how? Why isn’t there a resurgence of faith in time of war?
Is there a leadership gap at the present time? Do spiritual teachings pale in the face of cover-ups of abuse of the most innocent among us-our children? Where can we turn when our religions want peace at any price, and protect themselves from truth?
The answers to these and to all questions lie within us. That is not to say that we do not consult a Higher Power for guidance. It is to say that we trust our Guidance as it is given to us without interpretation by those with other motives. Truth is the basis of trust. Trust is the basis of systems of leadership and follower-ship. Causing distrust on the part of the follower by following motives that are not of a higher consciousness misleads and hurts those who desire sincerity, and dedication of their lives to higher purpose.
When we look at the institutions that are attempting to stay above the discontent, we see many in difficulty. Public education is an institution in the United States that continues to underserve the poor, often minority children, living in the most difficult of circumstances. One needs only to attempt to adjust funding for public education that would equalize opportunity and access to see how entrenched the system remains. Allowing the poor to attend schools with large numbers of uncertified teachers, inadequate safety measures, and lack of access to relevant technology continues in spite of the rhetoric. Demanding the same results in student achievement for graduation without guaranteeing similar access to high quality instruction continues the cycle of ignorance and thus oppression. While there is probably not a conscious intent to discriminate, there are few demonstrated attempts to change the current system. Visit some schools in high poverty areas, urban or rural, and contrast them with those in more affluent suburban areas and make your own judgments. It is sad that we have refused to rise up and demand equal educational opportunities even today.
Healthcare systems are perhaps even more discriminatory. Take for example the way we provide healthcare through insurance available primarily to those who can work. There is great diversity within the insurance field due to a lack of standards. It is a game of survival of the fittest with the wealthier obtaining the best services and the poorer, often children, disabled, or elderly receiving the worst, if any, care. Yet we continue with the “I got mine” philosophy while denying basic human rights to our brothers and sisters. In a just society, the strong care for the weak. In an unjust society, the fittest survive.
Another institution that is facing a grave dilemma is the institution of the family. There are those who believe that there is only one way, through traditional marriage, to raise families, while many are choosing other paths. Children need to be brought up with love and protection. They need a sense of order that they can trust. Whether the family in its traditional sense will continue to be the institution of choice, or whether those who have not been well-served within it will provide other arrangements for the care and raising of children, remains to be seen. However, the attack on the family as an institution may exist because the institution has been treated as more important than the individuals within it, and abuses continue to occur. Only in recent years have children in the United States had protection against child abuse, and the child protective system continues to have many failures. Lack of respect for those with the least power leads to abuse. When families, and religious, educational and healthcare institutions fail to protect those within their charge, abuse and oppression are often the result. Our institutions need to be reconsidered and changed to become institutions that serve well the masses, and not simply the strong.
We are marching to victory on many fronts because we are allowing truth to emerge. We are attempting to end oppression whether by foreign governments, or by the institutions we have created. We are demanding that our institutions serve all people, not simply some. And where they are unable to change themselves, we will eventually recreate them. Those who hang on to what doesn’t work will be lost in a new paradigm that serves all people. What we need now, when we are coming to terms with what doesn’t work, is a vision of what can be. That new vision of hope and trust, that realizes the aspirations of all instead of a few, is what we will begin to create. After we accept that our current institutions are unable to serve all people, we will begin anew. We will see the poor rising out of hopelessness to contribution of vital service. We will see the disenfranchised rise to opportunities that lead us to new discoveries in healthcare and scientific exploration. We will provide high-quality education and healthcare to all people. We will consider quality education, quality healthcare, quality food, and a peaceful and loving environment to be basic human rights. And when we adopt this vision of a True Democracy, we will create institutions that truly serve all people.
A True Democracy, where all are equal and all are truly free, can exist if we choose to create it. We must:
1.) decide whether we believe that all people deserve basic human rights;
2.) consider whether our current institutions provide equitably for all people; and
3.) where we find that our institutions are lacking, change them into new systems that truly serve all people.
We are marching to victory because we believe that ALL PEOPLE DESERVE TO BE FREE. And we, at this important time in human history, will come together and dedicate our lives to making it so.
Please join us in prayer/meditation in the International Peace Meditation on Sunday, April 6, and on the first Sunday of every month. This month we especially remember and pray for all those who courageously promote and protect freedom for all.
The International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc. is not a member of any religion in order that it might serve all. Extend this message of freedom and peace by:
1.) e-mailing this to all on your e-mail list;
2.) celebrating the International Peace Meditation monthly at your place of worship;
3.) visiting our web site and telling others about it; and
4.) donating to the Institute so that it may broaden its outreach.
The International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Your donation is greatly needed and deeply appreciated.
Sue Kidd Shipe, President
International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
P. O. Box 3920
Albany, New York 12203 USA