American Challenge: Revolution, A New Nation, and Westward Expansion (Sisters in Time)

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If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people.

The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

Thomas Jefferson’s Early Years

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:. Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation. Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.

Education Mission

Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the Geneva Agreement. Part of our ongoing [ applause continues ], part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front.

Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary. Meanwhile [ applause ], meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam.

See a Problem?

We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

In a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala.

It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.

We must rapidly begin [ applause ], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.


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True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.

America’s Security Is Still Tied to the Fate of Freedom - The American Interest

There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood. This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations.

These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy [ applause ], realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice.

Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24

We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops. These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.

We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated.


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Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.

Yes And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate.

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History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word. We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.


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  • Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors.

    If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response.

    Shall we say the odds are too great? It was to them a very local document, a list as indeed it was of very local grievances. Neither it nor any shot, in their view, was heard round the world. Both had been aimed, after all, at them; and on the whole they took it like gentlemen.

    But Edward Gibbon's attitude was not only devious; it was corrupt, even if in the accepted manner of the day. He looked, of course, to the government for an appointment, and accepted the post of one of the Lords Commissioner of Trade and Plantations. With this sinecure, his voice and vote were bought by George III and his ministers, which makes one appreciate even more the king's dig at him one day, "Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr. At the end of the difficult parliamentary session in , Gibbon was glad to get away, saying that "having saved the British I must destroy the Roman Empire.

    Horace Walpole reported with delight in a letter in "Dr. Gibbon with materials for writing the History of the Decline of the British Empire. Attributed to Charles James Fox, a dauntless leader of the opposition and staunch friend of the Americans, two verses ran:. Whether in Gibbon's own jest, Franklin's quip, or Fox's lampoon, there is nothing to suggest that the governing class in London could work itself into any great passion over the American war—neither the supporters nor the opponents of the American cause.

    Though the consummate and by then aged orator William Pitt, for whom Pittsburgh was named, reinforced his impassioned philippic in defense of the American colonists by collapsing unconscious on the floor of the House at the end. We also know how the American news was received outside London. In December the daily journal of the Rev.

    James Woodforde a country parson in Weston, Norfolk, of ordinary loyalty to the Crown gave "notice of a Fast being kept on Friday next concerning the present war between America and us.