Transcript: Peace, Christmas 2006, Dec 22 2006

This is the vision we should be holding, this is place we should be going, whenever we are going to discuss Christmas. Frankly, 365 days out of the year. This is a fundamental issue. Can we live peacefully with each other and with the rest of the planet; with all life on Earth? Because if we don't resolve that fundamental issue, we're toast! And I frankly believe that we can.

Peace, Christmas 2006

It is the anniversary of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Christmas, and so I thought it appropriate that we think about peace, that we hear some previous leaders of the United States speak about peace. This is John Kennedy:

"I have, therefore, chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived -- and that is the most important topic on earth: peace."

And he continues:

"What kind of a peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not the peace of the grave..."

Yeah, tell that to George W. Bush. I'm going to try to minimize my interruptions of this, but...

"... or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace -- the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living -- and the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace in all time..."

But peace in all time.

"I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war -- and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task."

And he was so right, we really have no more urgent task, and we just have to stand down these guys who think that war and killing is the way to solve all problems.

"No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue..."

And yet we've killed 600,000 Iraqis.

"Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility."

Until John Bolton came along.

"For we can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard. And for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove we are resolute..."

No, and in fact, Kennedy even believed we should use the United Nations for peace.

"Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument for peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system -- a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished...."

The season of peace. John Kennedy speaking about peace.

"The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war."

Well, doesn't it make you want to weep when you hear that?

"We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough -- more than enough -- of war and hate and oppression."

There was a time when that was actually an applause line. Now you'd be labeled a commie pinko peacenik.

"We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.

We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we must labor on -- not towards a strategy of annihilation but towards a strategy of peace."

(John F. Kennedy June 10, 1963, American University Speech.)

This is really, I just have to say, this is where we should be. This is the vision we should be holding, this is place we should be going, whenever we are going to discuss Christmas. Frankly, 365 days out of the year. This is a fundamental issue. Can we live peacefully with each other and with the rest of the planet; with all life on Earth? Because if we don't resolve that fundamental issue, we're toast! And I frankly believe that we can. It's just a matter of choosing good representatives and getting politically engaged, ourselves.

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