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“Threats of violence, no less than violence itself, are antithetical to democracy” says E. J. Dionne in an article on the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people in Tucson, six of whom died. Giffords had spoken out about the rhetoric used by Palin and others in the November elections – having her district “in the crosshairs of a gun sight” or “being on the targeted list.” Granted, this particular assassination was not carried out by the politicians voicing the threats. However, violence in mind, heart and speech is the bedrock of violence in action.

We live in a country that daily perpetrates war in Iraq and Afghanistan, sends drones to kill in Pakistan, allows widespread sale of guns and is one of the few democracies remaining to use the death penalty. It is as important today, as it was in 1969 when many of us were willing to go to jail for major portions of our lives in order to stop the war in Vietnam, to look deeply at the violence in our society and to do whatever we can to stop it.

Today, I begin my day with an examination of my mind and heart through journaling, Qi Gong and meditation. I know that I have the same seeds of violence, anger and fear in me that plagues others. I want to become more aware of those seeds, their origins and triggers. I try to water the opposite seeds of peace, joy and faith in my heart and in the hearts of all people I will encounter today.

Non-violence is not passive. Practicing non-violence toward ourselves, our families, our communities, our political rivals and other countries takes awareness, commitment and a community to support us. I am happy to see that some of her opponents in Congress have found enough peace in their hearts to pray for Congresswoman Giffords’ recovery today.


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Patrick Smith. Patrick Smith said: RT @miniskirtednun: End Violence-in speech and action: “Threats of violence, no less than violence itself, are antit … […]

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