Since I recently denounced nostalgic liberalism, I should confess my own moment of that sentiment from the past week: our Gospel Mission class was discussing the 1960s, and in that context Prof. Wondra and I shared a sense of loss that forty years ago, there was something we could accurately call a “peace movement.”
It may be too much to imagine that, in the present political climate of national pathology triggered by strangers and danger, the witness of Christian Peacemaker Tom Fox might quicken the consciences of political incumbents, or inspire resistance to fear-mongering and scapegoating among the world populace in general.
Something, sometime, will make clear just how grim, how cynical, how exploitative and degraded the U.S. government’s policies have become. Evidently tens of thousands of Iraqi civilan deaths haven’t done it. Thousands of U.S. military deaths haven’t done it. I doubt that Tom Fox’s faithful witness will get enough media play to provide the occasion for repentance (maybe if he had been a young, attractive woman from an upper-middle class family); but he has contributed his life to catalyzing that recognition. The sooner, the better. Ora pro nobis, Tom — while we search our hearts for the courage and determination to look at brutality, call it by name, and refuse to comply with its advocates.
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I thought of Tom Fox on the eleventh, at the biggest peace march in Fayetteville, Arkansas history, and I thought of a young, unarmed, disabled man who was killed by police here last week in a case of unverified (mistaken is too weak) identity.
I missed a lot of the Usual Suspects at that march, and saw a lot of people I’d never seen before. I think–and I could be wrong–but I think the tide has turned. It’s too late for a lot of people, and it’s not over yet, but it’s coming.