As we celebrate the Christmas season, we should recommit ourselves to avoid conflict and instead, focus on purging violence from our culture in all its manifestations.
We must re-employ comity in order to settle our political, religious and ideological differences.
Nationally, we must steadfastly avoid the urge to go to war to settle the grievances that our policies helped create.
As a society, we must embrace our better selves and project a more positive image to people around the world who have lost respect for America.
We must discover new ways to use America's strength to make peace instead of war to regain the respect of the world.
A timeless recognition of this necessity can be found in the book Adventures of a Bystander (Harper and Rowe, 1978) written by the late Peter Drucker.
Drucker quotes the late Pastor J. E. Rydback of the Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, who voiced the following admonition to his congregation on December 7th 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
"Let us remember that the forebears of everyone here came to this country to get away from the incessant wars, the insane hatreds, and the sinful pride of other nations. Let us remember that the forebears of everyone here hacked a farm out of the howling wilderness amid blizzards in the winter and sandstorms in the summer, so as to live as free men and women, innocent of the wickedness and folly of national honor and tyranny of government disguised as military glory. Let us remember that the forebears of every one of us came to build a new nation subservient to laws rather than to men. Let us pray that this cup will pass us by and that America will remain the last best hope, and not succumb to being just another entry in the long and vain list of empires."
Let's remember Pastor Rydback's message as we celebrate the renewal of hope that Christmas symbolizes. Let's dial down the rhetoric and turn away from those who divide our country and the world with unfocused hate, violence and bigotry. Most importantly, let's marginalize those political relics who constantly push us toward more unnecessary wars.
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