Friday, April 19, 2013

4/26: A community dialogue on violence

This week has been challenging for America.

We are dedicating the scheduled first Fremont Room meet-and-greet on Friday, April 26  Saturday, April 20 to conversations on how we as a community, especially as people of spirituality and faith, counter the culture of violence and life-denial so pervasive in American society, from mass shooting incidents to indiscriminate IED bombing to knee-jerk reactions by politicians and public officials that inevitably follow such events.

America is morally bankrupt -- but not in a way self-styled conservatives and value-voters think it is.  It is morally bankrupt because the national psyche glorifies violence at all levels, from "getting tough on petty criminals" to our preemptive "war on terror," while our elected officials divert more taxpayer dollars to military and prisons while denying children food and healthcare.  Both America's foreign policy and domestic ethos are strongly attached to violence and death, even as some of our politicians continue to make abortions a hot-button issue to win more votes.

All things are connected, and all things are manifestations of our collective thoughts and choices we make.  Violent video games and grotesque Hollywood movies desensitize us from the evil of intentionally inflicting sufferings on others, while a collective sadism and thirst for bloody vengeance becomes our social obsession.  "Life" gets subverted and turns into tyranny, "justice" became mob rules of our legislature, bully pulpits of our politicians, and a court-sanctioned lynching of our courts.  "Love" became a euphemism for abuse, objectification and control, while "peace, order, and safety" became a call for an astronomical military expenditure abroad and destruction of liberties and human rights at home.

We need a fundamental cultural shift, now.

This is our time to reignite our passion and to resume our work that was started on that October day of 2011 in a humble downtown Portland park.

You are invited to this time of dialogue.

4-5:45 p.m., Friday, April 26, 2013
10 - 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 20, 2013
Fremont Room (Occupy Portland Information Center)
1131 SE Oak Street Suite 12
Portland, Oregon  97214

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