“The key to our alternative, what we call the Strategy of Generosity, is our commitment to re-establish trust and hope among the peoples of the world so that we might begin to reflect and act coherently on ending world poverty in our lifetimes and saving the global environment from the almost certain destruction it faces unless we reverse our policies and give highest priority to protecting the earth. Instead of asking, “What serves the interests of American economic and political geo-power best?” we want a foreign policy that asks, ‘What best serves all the people on this planet and best serves the survival of the planet itself?'”
Thanks to Jean Hudon.
From the spiritualprogressives.org website:
Today, close to 3 billion people (half the people in the world) live on less than $2 a day, and close to half of that number live on $1 a day. Huge numbers of people are starving or very hungry, even as we are reading this and preparing for a good meal and playful celebration. Is it any wonder that some of these people, and those who care about them (even if they themselves are not poor), are very angry at the way the world’s politics and economics get set up?
We don’t think it is good or legitimate when anger gets expressed in violent ways. But we also have to take some responsibility for benefiting from a world order that is so unfair and so cruel. According to United Nations figures, somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 children under the age of five will die today, and again tomorrow, and again the next day, because they don’t have the food and basic medical supplies that could have kept them alive. That’s over 12 million children a year — the equivalent of two Holocausts per year!
We in the Network of Spiritual Progressives want to change all this, both by changing the terms of global trade agreements so that they work on behalf of the poor and the hungry, and by establishing (first in the United States, and then in all the advanced industrial societies) a Global Marshall Plan that would allocate between 1 percent and 2 percent of our Gross Domestic Product each year for the next twenty years toward the goal of ending once and for all domestic and global poverty, homelessness, inadequate education, and inadequate health care.
On this celebration of our interdependence, we want to reaffirm our shared commitment to these goals and commit to working with the Network of Spiritual Progressives on best ways to achieve these goals. We are proud that our idea for the Global Marshall Plan was introduced into the House of Representatives as House Resolution 1016 by Hon. Keith Ellison (the first Muslim in the House) and was co-sponsored by Hon. Emmanuel Cleaver, Hon. Barbara Lee, Hon. James Moran, Hon. John Conyers, Hon. Dennis Kucinich, and others. The list is growing — ask your representative in Congress to become a co-sponsor by contacting the office of Keith Ellison.
The key to our alternative, what we call the Strategy of Generosity, is our commitment to re-establish trust and hope among the peoples of the world so that we might begin to reflect and act coherently on ending world poverty in our lifetimes and saving the global environment from the almost certain destruction it faces unless we reverse our policies and give highest priority to protecting the earth. Instead of asking, “What serves the interests of American economic and political geo-power best?” we want a foreign policy that asks, “What best serves all the people on this planet and best serves the survival of the planet itself?”
A world divided by nationalist struggles and vain fantasies of dominating the resources of the earth on behalf of one or a few of the more powerful nations must be recognized as increasingly insane and self-destructive for the human race. Yet very many decent and moral people, having been talked into accepting the current construction of politics as “the given” within which one must work, end up participating in this insanity and calling it “realistic.” We were not made safer by the war in Iraq, we will not be made safer by the war in Afghanistan or by sanctions and military strikes against Iran, and our ally Israel is not made safer by its Occupation of the West Bank or its blockade of Gaza.
It is an urgent necessity to break through that set of assumptions about what is and what is not realistic so that people can look at the Strategy of Generosity not through the frame of existing, inside-the-beltway assumptions or the “common sense” thrown at us daily by a corporate-dominated media, but rather through the frame of what the human race and the planet earth urgently need in order to stop the insane people who have power at the moment from continuing their disastrous path.
It is a huge delusion to imagine that the insanity of framing our foreign policy only in terms of narrowly conceived American interests is somehow confined to one political party or one set of candidates for office — it is a shared insanity that must be challenged in every part of our political thinking, and it is just as likely to be articulated by people with whom we agree on many other issues as by people who are overtly reactionary or overtly ultra-nationalistic.
We are calling for a Strategy of Generosity to replace the Strategy of Domination as the best path to Homeland Security. Building that Strategy of Generosity requires that we reconnect with the human capacity to recognize the other as an embodiment of the sacred, or, in secular language, as fundamentally valuable for who they are and not as only instrumentally valuable for what they can do for us.
Recognizing the other as sacred reflects a pre-reflective, pre-nationalist connection between people — and that must become the center of our campaign for peace and environmental sanity. The bonds of caring among human beings can and must be fostered by our policies.
So although we can emphasize that it is in our own interests as humans to recognize that our individual and societal well-being depends on the well-being of everyone else on the planet, and sometimes will frame part of the argument for the Global Marshall Plan in those terms, we have to emphasize as well that our commitment to the Global Marshall Plan is not only because it could save the planet from nuclear and conventional wars and jumpstart the process of global environmental planning, but also because it reflects our deepest truth: the Unity of All Being and our commitment to care for each other as momentary embodiments of the God energy (or in secular terms, the goodness and love and generosity) of the Universe at its current stage of evolutionary development.
We wish to foster an ethos of caring and love for others because it is ethically and spiritually right to do so, not only because it is instrumentally the only sane policy for saving the planet and saving the lives of our children and grandchildren.
The Global Marshall Plan is the first step toward providing the sense of mutual trust that will allow for the next step needed by humanity in the twenty-first century: a global plan for how to allocate the world’s resources and regulate what is put into the environment by individuals and corporations. We cannot save the planet from ecological destruction if we are not willing to develop a coherent rational plan and then use it to guide our use of the resources of the planet. Such a global plan will not be workable until the peoples of the world truly understand their interdependence.
Our celebration of Interdepedence Day is an important part of the process of building a new consciousness. For that reason, we need to ask each other now to make a pledge to spend some time this summer taking around our petition of support for the Global Marshall Plan and for the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We ask you to spend time collecting signatures of endorsement, getting your congressional representatives and U.S. senators to back these measures (they are around now in your home district for a week), plus getting everyone you know to sign the Global Marshall Planand the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment petition.
Our interdependence with the world goes is deep and dramatic. Every human being on the planet is valuable, created in the image of God, fundamentally deserving of love, caring, kindness and generosity.
We know that there is a huge cultural and intellectual richness in the variety of cultures, religions, spiritual practices, music, literature, and shared wisdom of the societies that make up our world. On this Interdependence Day, we not only commit to helping improve the material conditions of the rest of the world, but also to learning from the rest of the world. We approach this task in a spirit of humility, aware that we in the United States have sometimes appeared to the rest of the world as a big bully and not as a society genuinely interested in sharing its cultural and intellectual and material gifts or in learning from others about their own particular cultural and spiritual heritages.
The impression of arrogance is particularly intense at this historical moment when the war in Iraq and the attempts by the U.S. to manipulate other countries is so visible to many of the people on our planet, but it will be a problem even after we stop the war in Iraq.
We want to communicate to the peoples of the world our own deep sorrow and repentance at the ways that our wonderful country has taken wrong turns in its foreign policy, and the ways that it has acted with arrogance and insensitivity to the needs of others, and supported an economic system whose insensitivity to the needs of the environment and its preaching of “me-first-ism” and looking at everyone with a “what’s in it for me?” consciousness has already done immense damage.
We are happy to celebrate this Interdependence Day on Independence Day for the United States.
Blessing All People
Some of us wish to invoke God’s blessing on our country and will do so now. But before we go there, we also wish to invoke God’s blessings on all people on our planet and on the planet itself. We know that nationalist chauvinism, thinking that we are or can be better than everyone else, and the manic need to be “number one” can lead us into wars and destructive behavior. Instead, we want to bless everyone on the planet, to celebrate with everyone. So we rejoice in the people of this country; we rejoice with them as we celebrate all that is beautiful and good in this country, and at the same time we affirm our deep connection to all people on this planet and invoke God’s blessing on all of us, together, and pray that we soon will see a triumph of a new spirit of kindness, generosity, love, caring for others, ecological sensitivity, and celebration with joy, awe, and wonder at all the good that surrounds us in this amazing universe.
If you choose to model a July 4 celebration on this holiday guide, we invite you also to incorporate songs from the NSP July 4 songsheet which includes alternative lyrics for songs such as “America the Beautiful” and “Imagine.”