Sunday, July 11, 2004

Mercy before Justice

By Carl Sundberg
Pulse columnist
May 20, 2004

In these days of destruction, in this era of aggression and revenge, it has become plain to me that we need a new way of thinking. We need what Ken Kesey called a "revolution of consciousness."

"We've got to be mature enough to incorporate everyone into this revolution," Kesey wrote. "Its basis is mercy and justice, and mercy before justice."

This should be its mantra: Mercy before justice.

We've come a long way as humans, but once again, like so many times in the past, we are in jeopardy. We are bordering on killing the whole damn planet -- wiping everything out: people and environment. We're working on another world war, kids, and like the saying goes, the third time's the charm.

If this happens, there won't be a World War Four.

We hold the keys to this careening car of destiny, each and every single one of us. And while we are led to believe our leaders are in charge and everything is up to them, it's not. We all choose war or peace. We all choose joy or misery. We all choose revenge or forgiveness. Our leaders sign the checks, but we write 'em.

There is plenty of hatred and anger going around these days, and not just in the Middle East. Here in the United States there is plenty of in-fighting. Just take a look at our political process.

We've got two parties, Democrats and Republicans. (Sorry, Independents, this is the sad truth.) Both sides believe in the rules of the game. They each have a creed, a side, and neither one of them will budge if it means sacrificing their self-induced dogmatic ideal. They'd rather escalate the fury than calm down and take a moment to just simply listen to what the other guy has to say. No one backs down, even if they're wrong. They just move further from the common ground toward the extremes of partisanship. And these days, the poles are shifting further and further to one side or the other. The tug of war is getting so strong the rope is going to snap. This is not good.

We need a common ground here where beliefs aren't held in front of ideas and emotions aren't imprisoning logic. I say, erase the parties. Of course, the followers who live in this world will torch me. They're going to call me crazy. And maybe I am, but I am tired of the violence. I am tired of the rage. And I am ready for change.

The anger has been mounting for some time now, but it wasn't until Sept. 11 that things really got out of control. The whole nation has been foaming at the mouth, fevered and ready to kill over what happened to us. And now we're shocked when we see pictures of our soldiers torturing the enemy. Get real folks, this is war. This is reality television. This is what happens behind closed doors. This is what it comes down to. This is what you get when anger rules. This is what revenge looks like.

This year our choice for president is either a smirking jackal or a sneaky jackal. Neither have expressed any honest feelings about awareness. Neither are worthy of leading us. We're in a lose-lose situation. We aren't getting any enlightenment from these people. There'll be no consciousness expansion here. There'll be no peace here. There'll be no unity here.

We've got to look someplace else. We have to find the enlightenment and higher ground elsewhere, before it's too late. And I'm not talking about looking for a leader. I'm talking about looking inside. That's the only place we're going to find it. If not, we're doomed.

The motto of Kesey's Pranksters is "Nothing lasts." I find hope in this idea, because without it, it would be hard to justify our violent existence. If nothing lasts, I like to think that violence won't either. But the question is, will we end along with it?


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