Catalogue


A time for choices : deep dialogues for deep democracy /
Michael Toms ; foreword by Kevin Danaher.
imprint
Gabriola, B.C. : New Society Publishers, 2002.
description
xiv, 224 p. : ill. ,ports. 23 cm.
ISBN
0865714746 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Gabriola, B.C. : New Society Publishers, 2002.
isbn
0865714746 :
general note
A new dimensions book.
catalogue key
4716336
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Michael Toms is the co-founder, executive producer, and principal host of New Dimensions Radio
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
A Time For Choices Introduction, by Michael Toms Your life has changed forever. My life has changed forever. The world is different now, just as we are different. September 11, 2001, affected everyone, everywhere. More than three thousand innocent human beings died on that tragic day, thousands at the World Trade Center, nearly two hundred at the Pentagon, and still others in a farm field in Pennsylvania. People from eighty nations died in New York City. Clearly, this attack was not only an American event, but also a world event. And the whole world has experienced the aftermath of what happened on that grievous day. On the night of September 12, 2001, I was watching ABC television as Peter Jennings handed off to Ted Koppel. There was a moment of reflection that provided a glimmer of light through the mass of darkness being presented by the major media. Jennings spoke of his own service in the Middle East and reminded Koppel of his service in Vietnam and Africa. Jennings mentioned how they both had been exposed to the depth of hatred and anger that some peoples and societies hold towards America and Americans because of the United States Government's foreign policy. As he was talking, I remembered the CIA's role in the death of Patrice Lamumba in the Congo, its role in the assassination of Chile's Salvador Allende, the Iran-Contra arms-for-money deal, our support of dictators like Trujillo, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and Batista. Our hands are bloody. My hands are bloody because I am an American. I was born in Washington, DC, and raised in northern Virginia, the country of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, James Madison, James Monroe, and others who helped to ground me in the original vision of this nation. It is this original vision of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the Bill of Rights, freedom and justice for all, education for every citizen and so much morethat is our salvation. It was a dream in 1776 -- a vision of a government that had never been attempted previously, not even in Greece, the "cradle of democracy." At this unique time, however, the colonists, including such figures as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, had come in contact with the Iroquois Confederacy and borrowed much from this Native American government. Although imperfect in its various manifestations at the time and since, the United States of America is based upon a spiritual vision of the highest order. Through some mysterious grace there was assembled a community of men and women who came together and were able to envision the future in a way that had never been seen before. They were human just like us, with frailties, with hopes and fears just like us. And yet, they were able to accomplish something never done before, in the midst of enormous challenges, in a crisis situation, through holding to a vision from the deepest levels of their souls. They were willing to face death for their beliefs. I believe that we can take sustenance from the Declaration of Independence, a spiritual document, and the Bill of Rights, as they were originally drafted and approved after intense deliberations. It is also my belief that we, as a nation, have strayed far from our original founding vision, both in spirit and action. It is true, as President George W. Bush has stated, that "freedom and democracy are under attack," but not just by external forces. Freedom and democracy are also under attack from within. We must search our own hearts and minds because the common ground we all share is that at the deepest level we want spiritual freedom and liberation. Thomas Jefferson wrote of this freedom in the Declaration of Independence. This is a time for deep reflection, a time for me to look in the mirror and see how I may be contributing to what is unfolding around us. It is a time for humanity, compassion, forgiveness, and love. We have suffereda horrendou
First Chapter

A Time For Choices

Introduction, by Michael Toms

Your life has changed forever. My life has changed forever. The world is different now, just as we are different. September 11, 2001, affected everyone, everywhere. More than three thousand innocent human beings died on that tragic day, thousands at the World Trade Center, nearly two hundred at the Pentagon, and still others in a farm field in Pennsylvania. People from eighty nations died in New York City. Clearly, this attack was not only an American event, but also a world event. And the whole world has experienced the aftermath of what happened on that grievous day.

On the night of September 12, 2001, I was watching ABC television as Peter Jennings handed off to Ted Koppel. There was a moment of reflection that provided a glimmer of light through the mass of darkness being presented by the major media. Jennings spoke of his own service in the Middle East and reminded Koppel of his service in Vietnam and Africa. Jennings mentioned how they both had been exposed to the depth of hatred and anger that some peoples and societies hold towards America and Americans because of the United States Government's foreign policy. As he was talking, I remembered the CIA's role in the death of Patrice Lamumba in the Congo, its role in the assassination of Chile's Salvador Allende, the Iran-Contra arms-for-money deal, our support of dictators like Trujillo, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and Batista. Our hands are bloody. My hands are bloody because I am an American.

I was born in Washington, DC, and raised in northern Virginia, the country of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, James Madison, James Monroe, and others who helped to ground me in the original vision of this nation. It is this original vision of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the Bill of Rights, freedom and justice for all, education for every citizen and so much more that is our salvation. It was a dream in 1776 -- a vision of a government that had never been attempted previously, not even in Greece, the "cradle of democracy." At this unique time, however, the colonists, including such figures as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, had come in contact with the Iroquois Confederacy and borrowed much from this Native American government.

Although imperfect in its various manifestations at the time and since, the United States of America is based upon a spiritual vision of the highest order. Through some mysterious grace there was assembled a community of men and women who came together and were able to envision the future in a way that had never been seen before. They were human just like us, with frailties, with hopes and fears just like us. And yet, they were able to accomplish something never done before, in the midst of enormous challenges, in a crisis situation, through holding to a vision from the deepest levels of their souls. They were willing to face death for their beliefs.

I believe that we can take sustenance from the Declaration of Independence, a spiritual document, and the Bill of Rights, as they were originally drafted and approved after intense deliberations. It is also my belief that we, as a nation, have strayed far from our original founding vision, both in spirit and action. It is true, as President George W. Bush has stated, that "freedom and democracy are under attack," but not just by external forces. Freedom and democracy are also under attack from within. We must search our own hearts and minds because the common ground we all share is that at the deepest level we want spiritual freedom and liberation. Thomas Jefferson wrote of this freedom in the Declaration of Independence.

This is a time for deep reflection, a time for me to look in the mirror and see how I may be contributing to what is unfolding around us. It is a time for humanity, compassion, forgiveness, and love. We have suffered a horrendous tragedy with an enormous loss of life. The waves of this disaster will continue into the future, and their effects are unimaginable. I struggle to get my mind around it, but I can't do it. All I can do is go deep within myself and seek the sustenance of my spiritual depths. We are at a crossroads; I am at a crossroads; you are at a crossroads. We are in the midst of an age-old story, that of the forces of light versus the forces of darkness. Will we choose the path of fear, anger, and revenge, or will we choose the path of nonviolence and love?

It is amazing to me that the U.S. Congress appropriated $40 billion less than 72 hours after the tragedy occurred, without much reflection or measured deliberations about an appropriate response. This from a group not known for fast action. It is stunning to me that this decision was taken with only one dissenting vote. A lone voice, that of Congresswoman Barbara Lee from Oakland, a California Democrat who voted against the War Powers Act, said, "I don't think we should take any action that should cause any more loss of life --Violence begets violence, and we don't want that to happen. That kills people." Congress, again, virtually without dissent or dialogue, also passed the so-called Patriot Act, which seriously infringes on civil liberties and, among other things, allows U.S. state-sponsored assassinations.

I see the innocent civilians who lost their lives on September 11 as a sacrifice. Sacrifice is a noble word. It means to "make sacred." The deaths of more innocent civilians do not honor the sacrifice that these people have made. Do not misunderstand me: I support justice being meted out to the criminals who perpetrated this horrific event. The bombing of Afghanistan, however, was not justice. It was vengeance rooted in anger. We now know that more innocent civilians have died in Afghanistan during the bombing than perished on September 11. The "war on terrorism" against an unseen and unidentified enemy will simply provoke retaliation. If violence really brought peace and security, we would have peace in the Middle East -- but we have all witnessed the violence there for the past fifty years, and it keeps continuing.

The bombing of Afghanistan began with the goal of getting Osama bin Laden (whose whereabouts remains unknown at this writing), then quietly segued into getting the Taliban, then Al Qaeda, and now our government has carried its goals to the "axis of evil": Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as well as other nations.

As Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us before, violence begets violence; it is never the answer. When Timothy McVeigh was found guilty in an American court of law of blowing up the Oklahoma City Federal Office Building, he was eventually executed for his crime. We didn't execute his family, or his friends, or his community. That was justice within the American system. The "war on terrorism" is not justice. Despite our government's attempts to propagandize this war with the assistance of the major mass media, we are killing innocent civilians. How are they different from the innocents killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?

I am an American patriot. I love this country. I love this planet. As such, I have a responsibility as a citizen living in a democracy to speak out and question the decisions that are being made on my behalf by this government using my tax dollars. The American Revolution arose from dissent and the desire to escape the tyranny of King George and the British Empire at that time. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are all about the sovereign voice of the people in a democracy. The Constitution begins with the words, "We the People of the United States ..." The people are the sovereign voice in America. The government works for us, not the other way around. We have a right to question and challenge the decisions of our government leaders. Indeed, it is our responsibility to do so.

The heart and soul of democracy are dialogue and dissent. The latter emerges from the former. My work and the work of the New Dimensions Broadcasting Network is about expanding the field of possibilities, realizing that as the horizon expands, the opportunities grow. A Time for Choices is about this field of possibilities and has emerged through dialogue. It may raise more questions than it provides answers, but that's okay. Indeed, that's the whole point.

As President Jimmy Carter recently wrote, "The problems may seem insurmountable, but they are not. We have the tools; we have brilliant dedicated people to find answers. All we need is a sense of sharing and the will to change. The will can grow from understanding. Once we understand, we can care, and once we care, we can change."

Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Progressive American thinkers reflect upon the future of democracy in an age when dissent and disagreement have become 'unpatriotic' and 'anti-American'.
Main Description
In the months after 9-11, Michael Toms selected and interviewed people from a diverse range of professions and perspectives in a quest to uncover responses -- to encourage dialogue, and to present voices and views not being heard in the American mass media. The result is this collection of wisdom from more than forty leading thinkers, educators, political analysts, activists, social innovators, clergy, journalists, philosophers, and spiritual teachers. These are the voices of the fourth branch of government, the bedrock of American democracy -- the people -- speaking out and questioning American values and policy. The dialogues are grouped in nine sections that address concerns ranging from democracy, peace, and security to the spiritual dimension, and the role of the media. They include such luminaries as: Terry Tempest Williams, Paul Hawken, Howard Zinn, Susan Griffin, John Mohawk, Amy Goodman, Joanna Macy, Vicki Robin, and Thomas Moore. A Time for Choices will appeal to all seeking to understand the deeper roots of the crises facing the U.S.A. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Forewordp. xii
Introductionp. 1
Reflections on 9-11p. 5
Wild Mercyp. 6
The American Spiritp. 10
Holistic Politicsp. 12
Touching the Spiritp. 14
The Roots of the Problem Hold the Solutionp. 16
Values, Ethics, and Moralsp. 20
What Is Democracy?p. 27
Breaking the Paradigmp. 28
Living in the Conversationp. 34
Civil Liberties at Riskp. 39
What Democracy Is Notp. 44
The Media is the Messagep. 47
Saving the Worldp. 48
The Orwellian Zonep. 52
Hope Goes a Long Wayp. 56
Probing the Paradoxesp. 60
Outrage as Energizerp. 64
How We See and Are Seenp. 66
Giving Peace a Voicep. 69
Through the Lens of Historyp. 70
Seeing America Clearlyp. 74
Grief, Prayer, and Peacep. 80
Thinking with Different Eyesp. 86
The Search for Securityp. 93
Restoring the Dialoguep. 94
Holding the Heart Spacep. 98
On the Edgep. 103
Hope in the Ordinaryp. 108
The People: The 4th Branch of Governmentp. 111
Beyond Patriotismp. 112
Challenging the Systemp. 119
From Corporate Capitalism to Populist Capitalismp. 122
Manufacturing Consent for Peacep. 131
The Inner Meaning of Americap. 136
Going Deeper: The Spiritual Dimensionp. 139
The Great Turningp. 140
Listening and Belongingp. 144
Looking Evil in the Eyep. 148
Soul Risingp. 154
New Ways of Beingp. 156
Prayer and Practicep. 159
The Power of Spiritp. 162
Many Voices/Many Viewsp. 171
The Lessons of Historyp. 172
Taking Responsibilityp. 178
Women and Afghanistanp. 182
The North American Wayp. 187
Multicultural Americap. 191
Visions of the Futurep. 193
The Power of Circle Technologyp. 194
A Passion for Peacep. 196
The Dangerous Truthp. 199
Martin Luther King Jr. Speaksp. 205
Epiloguep. 210
About the Contributorsp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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