good letters

Hope that the future can be better.
Work for justice.
Work for fairness.
Write good letters.


Are we capable of peace?

Peace is no accident. It is the result of rational people choosing to value the future over the past. It requires a change to our accounting practices, so that we can count the cost of our safety. We have to choose to be good neighbors, to convince the community to stop hating us.

Each one of us is linked. If my brother's life is marred by tragedy, then my life is less for it. If my neighbor is a victim of violence, then my own good is diminished. And when a child I have never met or seen is hurt, or merely held down from becoming all that she can be, my peace and joy are reduced as well. We are all connected. This is what community means.

We cannot fight for peace. We can only fight to keep the violence somewhere else, for a time. But to achieve peace we have to put down our weapons and talk with our enemies. We have to pay for our crimes. We have to demand payment for the crimes committed against us, on equal and equitable terms. But redress of wrongs only covers past sins. We have to go further and talk about the present and the future.

How should we live within this community? That is not a question that we can answer in isolation. We cannot sit safe at home and dream up an answer that will work. We must engage the rest of the nations of the world in a way that has never been done. We must actually sit down together, talk and listen, and then implement significant changes in the way that we live.

Before that dialog takes place, we can only guess what the results will be. Probably the unintended consequences, in economic terms, will be bad. That is part of the cost of peace. The playing field will have to level out, and that means we will lose some of our elevated position.

True learning is painful. It requires us to admit our lack of knowledge. Sometimes our beloved teachers were wrong, and valuing the future requires us to abandon our sacred cows. It requires us to change. It often causes us to rebel and refuse, because it is painful and uncomfortable. This is especially true for professional ambassadors and politicians. We have to rotate through multiple decision makers on a regular basis, in order to filter out the mistakes and misconceptions of each individual person.

We will have to place restraints on our international companies. They will have to obey a higher standard in employment practices, environmental protection, and financial transparency. We will have to close the limiteb liability and jurisdictional loopholes that we have been using to protect our own interests. We will have to become sensitive to the fears and prejudices of our neighbors. This is the cost of peace.

Are we mature enough to pay the price? Do we have the discipline to do the hard thing because it is the right thing?