A CALL FOR COMPASSIONWill Mother be home in time to take the kids to soccer?
Will I have enough time to get my taxes done?Oh no. I missed my train.
There aren't enough hours in the day.Junior's got too much homework.
Will the buses come and get me out on time?The soldiers are late.
The police are sure taking a long time to get here.What time does the food line start?
What time does the food line end?Is his prison sentence over yet?
Did he get time off for good behavior?Can he still walk?
Are his parents still alive? His wife? His children?What is that acrid, ashen smell coming from my neighborhood, my town, my city?
Will he get home in time to see them?Doesn't he know the government took his home?
Where will he sleep?
How can you?The lumps against your back aren't because your mattress is failing; they're the buried truths of a suffering world rising up to wake you. You've been so comfortable for so long, you forget that the underpinnings of the life through which you sleepwalk are hidden under more than just the bed's dust ruffle. Heavy curtains and drapes hide horrible challenges over generations for some, while for others, life's suffering boils like magma behind a thin veil only moments old. Time, you see, does not heal wounds. It hides them.
It's time to wake up, America, and deal with our past. It's time to bow low to the whip - the slave trader's stock. It's time to feel the weight of our heavy hand at Wounded Knee and the Panama Canal. It's time to cry for the strikers who bled for industry barons and with the scarred little girls of Hiroshima who were forced to finish on their own what our bomb did not. It's time to apologize for My Lai and enabling Pinochet and the Shah and Saddam. It's time to deal with secret policies and secret wars.
What can we do about those things that were done in our name so long ago? Not much. Just be aware that it was there. But NOW, take that awareness and apply it NOW, to end suffering in Darfur and Somalia, in Iraq and in Palestine, in Iran, China and Saudi Arabia and Israel, in countries across the globe and on the street where you live.
Maybe we can make the early light of dawn in 2007 America, a promise to shine a light on all that is dark in the world, everywhere people are suffering. And look, the real power isn't going to come from me or anyone else telling you where the suffering is. Just take on easing humanity's pain as a commitment, and your course will be obvious. This is a request and an invitation for you to demonstrate your most basic compassion.
I ask that you be bold enough to share your commitment, and what it accomplishes, with other readers of Prose and Thorn. Please be bold, for there is only one time: now.