CHOOSE LIFE By Bill Bichsel, S.J.

CHOOSE LIFE By Bill Bichsel, S.J.

Rise all of you elderly and seniors who have been lured to the warmth and comfort of Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, Florida, Nevada and points south. Leave your sun drenched pool sides, manicured greens, shaded patios and your pursuit of the good life and return to northern climes to do the work you have not yet begun or work you put off because it was too overwhelming. If you are working on immigration rights or works that further No More Deaths at the Mexican border it is probably best that you remain where you are needed.

It is we of later years who have left a terrible world for our children, grandchildren and those most vulnerable and destitute in our society. Our nation is awash in greed, violence and fear. We have allowed our appetites for ‘MORE’ become motivating forces in our personal and national lives. To maintain and protect what we have accumulated we have agreed to the rise of a gigantic Security State (Empire) which needs deadly weapon systems to protect the wealth and the means of accumulating the wealth which has been sucked from impoverished countries and peoples for the beneficiaries of the Security State. This security system is global and has military bases in over 100 countries to protect American interests.

The foundation of our global control is our nuclear weapon superiority. Nuclear weapons are illegal under the treaties signed by the U.S. which declare the use of weapons of indiscriminate killing to be contrary to international and humanitarian law. Nuclear weapons do not deter war and conflict but cause fear among nations which arm themselves against one another. The U.S. could lead us out of this unlawful nuclear bondage if the people would rise and demand the abolition of these weapons of mass destruction.

The legacy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings is that might makes right. We have allowed that mentality to grow and have handed it onto our children and grand-children. All of us have been afflicted and affected by the possession of nuclear weapons which threaten other peoples. The possession and intended use of nuclear weapons is the tap-toot of violence in our society. Because a great deal of our money and resources are being diverted to the enhancement and maintenance of these weapons of mass destruction rather than going to met human needs, a great many people are dying now. Just the lack of potable drinking water in third world countries causes untold deaths every year.

The mind set that allows the cost of nuclear weapons also allows the violence of homelessness, hunger, absence of health care, lack of education and employment, the exploitation of the immigrant and the climate of hopelessness. The latest decision of the Supreme Court to allow corporations to pay for candidates and fund measures that will benefit them is the Clarion call that the mighty and the rich will rule our world.

Though the task is overwhelming the least we can do is try. We must rise out of our lethargy and organize and become active in resisting the violence that comes with the production and possession of nuclear weapons. Whether you choose to work to meet human needs in Haiti or the United States or to resist nuclear weapons it is important to know that you can do something about it. I want to share here a short story with you. You may know that on November 2nd, 4 other seniors and I entered the Bangor Sub Base and after 4 hours undetected ended our journey at the nuclear weapons bunkers where we were held for witnessing to the immorality of this largest stockpile of nuclear weapons –  perhaps in the world. What is really exciting to me was a short time ago I was telling this story to a group here in Tacoma when an elderly man came up to me and simply stated “if you ever do that again – count me in”. Now that was hopefulness!!!!

That’s what I’m talking about. Let go of the false security that binds us to immobility. What have we got to lose, especially at our age. We can only be winners. And maybe, just maybe these old decrepit bones of ours will be once again infused with a spiritual energy that’s been missed for a long time.

Remember that the Nuclear Weapon Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review is coming May 1, 2010 at the United Nations in New York. Join your voice with those calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. Unless there is a date established, the legacy left by us will be a nuclear armed world and continued war planning.

Let us leave the flesh pots of Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, Nevada and Florida to travel through a different desert to find our humanity and leave our humanity as gifts to the generations following us.

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