In light of the tragic shootings of last weekend, my friend and fellow Tucsonan Dave Ewoldt has some words of wisdom to offer. This statement was taken from Dave’s blog.
Press Conference Statement by Dave Ewoldt
I was invited to speak today at a press conference organized by the peace, justice, and sustainability community to examine the tragic events of this past Saturday in Tucson that left six people dead and 14 more wounded. Representatives from 14 groups delivered prepared statements. Following is mine.
My name is Dave Ewoldt, and I’m the executive director of Natural Systems Solutions. Our work emerges from the field of ecopsychology, and one focus is the use of natural systems principles to facilitate the transition into a sustainable future. It is in that context that I prepared my remarks.
We are exhibiting many symptoms of a very sick society. Foremost today, of course, is that we’re destroying our one and only life support system to continue an entirely irrational system of infinite economic growth on a finite planet. But, there’s another symptom of our cultural pathology that I want to address today.
The rhetoric of hate and fear is propagated and enticed by the only interests that it truly serves–elite power and control hierarchies. These special interests maintain their control by keeping us divided against ourselves. Whether you are a member of the Tea Party or the Progressive Movement, the problem is not big government, but bad government–a government that has been bought by corporate and financial interests that put profit and power before and above people and planet.
Today’s so-called conservative movement, which it should be apparent has nothing whatsoever to do with traditional values that seek a better future for all–that has both Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt turning in their graves–has adopted the language of war and retribution; a language that seeks to settle differences by “targeting” and “taking out” your opponents; a language that normalizes violence, aggression, and exploitation for personal benefit; a language that divides and pits us against each other in order to keep us too distracted from where the problem really lies.
We are a culture that sanctions death. We illegally invade and occupy sovereign nations that don’t play along with our business interests, and use unmanned drones to drop bombs on civilian populations. We are the arms dealer to the world. Our death… I mean defense… industry and prisons are the only growth sectors left that we don’t outsource and off-shore in our economy.
But what is most important to realize in a culture that has lost its way is that there is an alternative to all this that we could consciously choose. While it may sound strange to ears long accustomed to the story of scientific reductionism, materialism, and separation that has emerged from Enlightenment thinking, the alternative follows known patterns of mutually supportive ecological relationships that have been working quite well for billions of years to keep the project of life itself progressing. This alternative starts by no longer allowing those who act against our best interests–against the best interests of life itself–to dictate the terms of the debate.
We could decide to focus on those aspects of being truly and fully human that work with the creative life force such as nurturance, compassion, cooperation and use our intelligence to focus our innovative spirit on creating a sustainable future. A future based on the principles of ecological wisdom, social justice, economic equity, and participatory democracy. We can no longer afford to continue denying that true justice cannot exist without sustainability, and without justice there will be no peace.
Otherwise, our days will continue to be filled with too many that resemble this past weekend. The choice is up to us, and change begins by making new choices.