I have been on a bit of a Gandhi kick lately. I just re-read a biography about him and watched the movie. It reminded me that we all have the ability to choose the right path, the path that stands against injustice... even if that means suffering injustice in the process.
That path can never include utilizing the same practices of the oppressors. As Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye leaves a blind world." Or, as George Carlin so eloquently put it, "Trying to achieve peace through war is like trying to gain virginity by f**king." The only way to change a system is to act in the exact opposite way of the system.
There is a great Seinfeld episode where George realizes that his natural inclinations always lead to ruin. So, he decides to figure out what his natural response would be, and to do the exact opposite. That is how we should react to an unjust structure. If it's natural response is A, then we should do B.
We all have a choice. There are two songs that I think demonstrate this choice superbly. First, the Flobots song Handlebars.
Second, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song by the Flaming Lips (I love me some Flaming Lips!).
Why is it that humanity talks about peace and justice (heck, we use the term "humane" to define such things) yet we continue to try to use war and resource control to achieve them? This is what we've done our entire existence. Isn't a definition of insanity continuing in the same course of action yet expecting different results? Are we insane? Sometimes I think so, but people like Jesus, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, MLK Jr., Mother Teresa, and thousands of others have inspired us to greater heights. We must, must, must remember their examples whenever we come to the place where we are offered the choice to be humane or be cruel. Daily we are faced with two roads. Let this be said of us:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The path of peace and justice has historically been less traveled. Let us be a generation that tramples down the weeds which have become overgrown on that trail.