I have been summoned to appear at the federal court in Tacoma, Washington on Monday, July 23 at 1:30. It is possible that Probation Officer will ask that my supervised release be revoked, and that I be sent back to prison. This is not a surprise. I have not cooperated with being on supervised release.
Like many of us, I do not want to cooperate in any way with the culture of death, with the killing of others. I think that the federal courts are protecting the military and the warmaking of our nation, and that the federal probation office is an extension of the courts.
Last week I had a very vivid dream. My grandchild was in danger. He was in the second floor of a building that was crashing down. I was pointing and shouting and begging people to help me save him. No one could hear me! The top of the house was sliding into the ocean…and I felt powerless. It’s hard to talk about our dreams, you know, when they are so vivid and you wake up and can’t forget them.
Again last night I had a dream about my second grandchild. She was sitting on the axle of a big cart that was rolling down a sharp incline (she can’t sit up by herself, much less balance on a metal axle). People were playing around the cart, it was picking up speed, and no one thought there was any danger. I ran up to the cart and picked her up.
Many of us wonder if we are heard; if the warnings about the violence we are doing to the climate and the earth, about the dangers of nuclear weapons, about our national military spending, about the pollution of the ocean, the food additives, are heard at all. Some of us hear and don’t know exactly what to do. Many scientists say we are at a tipping point in history. The courts and probation department seem to think our nation is progressing, and that people who raise these questions are standing in the way of progress.
What will change how we relate to each other and the earth? Of course, I don’t know. But I do think that each of us has to do what makes sense to us to help the common good.
How do we live justly? Not by listening to judges and probation officers. For my friends here at the Redwood City Catholic Worker, living justly means that some of their work includes helping one youth after another, one family after another. For my friends at the Tacoma Catholic worker, living justly means that they feed the hungry that the empire would like to ignore, that they help those with mental illness that the empire would throw away, and that they help women coming out of prison. For the good folks at Jonah House, living justly means that they teach and live nonviolence in every breath and action they take.
For many it means that they send books and visit prisoners, or donate to projects that directly help others. Actually, a lot of people do what they can for the common good. John Dear reminds us that 2/3 of the people in the world are part of grassroots movements for social change.
So despite the real anxiety of these dreams, I know that the burden of change is not going to come from courts and probation officers. Each of us is called to do something, to do the best we can for the common good.
And the best I know how to do is to say no to the warmaking, and to the systems of government that support the wars and hide the truth.
During our trial [of Disarm Now Plowshares], the court worked hard to hide the truth. Even the existence of the nuclear warheads on the Naval Base Bangor was not acknowledged. Testimony by medical, military, experts wasn’t allowed – was barely allowed on some topics. We were not able to use International law or even national law when it was about war crimes.
We were not guilty of any crime, and, had the jury been able to hear the reasons why we went onto the naval base, I believe we would have been acquitted.
And so, to me, it doesn’t make sense to cooperate with being punished for being just and trying to tell the truth.
My character has its disordered parts and I go to confession, but I don’t need a US federal probation officer to keep my life ordered. I need the gospel for that.
For me, the joy of resisting is in saying no more war: no more killing with hellfire missiles, or threatening to use nuclear warheads.
That is the teaching of our gospel.
That is the content of my prayer.
Blessings and Peace,