|A repudiation of violence?|
|Written by Peter Johnston|
|Thursday, 06 November 2008 16:33|
The picture above is of a sculpture called the Tree of Life that was made a few years ago in Mozambique out of weapons that had been given up by the people in exchange for tools like shovels, ploughs, sewing machines and bicycles making the Micah prophecy a reality in that country.
The Christian Council of Mozambique have been supporting this work following the terrible civil war that lasted seventeen years. Although it ended in 1992 the country is still awash with weapons. It can take a long time to transition from a culture of violence to a culture of peace. (There's more...)
If you have been following this blog over the last month you will know I have posted a number of times about violence here, here, here and here. Of the many, many positive things I see flowing from the decision made by the American electorate to elect Barack Obama one of the most important is the repudiation of the way in which violence has been used to achieve ends over the last years, particularly with respect to Iraq and the ill-conceived "War on Terror".
John McCain's campaign was suffused with militaristic language, relied heavily on his own war record (which I would in no way want to impugne), and offered an even more aggressive policy towards other nations than that which the world has suffered through under President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Ike had it right
Many years ago in his farewell address another president, Dwight Eisenhower, warned the world of the changes that the growing military industry meant:
I have no doubt in my own mind that under Bush and Cheney (remember that Cheney was the CEO of a huge company with many military contracts: Halliburton) exactly what Eisenhower warned of came to pass. Huge decisions that impacted millions of lives have been made with one eye on the profits it will bring to the companies that provide the equipment, resources and backup. The jingoistic tub-thumping that saw the application of violence as the means to achieve any end thrived in the years after 9/11. The institutionalisation of torture has been just the most obvious form of the moral decline this reliance on violence brought.
A new path
On Tuesday I believe the American people decided to try a different way. While McCain spoke endlessly in the last days of his campaign of fighting, threats and fear, Obama maintained his emphasis on hope and change.
I am not naive enough to think that the new Democratic administration is going to bring world peace. Indeed, in many respects some of what they will do will cause me to grind my teeth in frustration, I am sure. No matter how much the Democrats are pilloried for being left-leaning in the USA, they would still be a far-right party in this country!
Nonetheless, I am convinced that there will be a far greater emphasis on peaceful means to achieve an end under the new administration. For that, I am truly thankful.