If you are of the progressive persuasion, these are disheartening times.

Incredibly, many of the forward strides taken by our society in recent decades now seem up for review, or even rejection. Could our nation really go back to the worst days of Cold War mentality, environmental pollution, racial discrimination, blind nationalism, and patriarchy? I thought we’d moved on, never to return. Maybe not.

So I’ve been struggling to retain a hopeful stance, rather than yield to cynicism or despair. A friend helped me greatly by introducing me to Robert Keck’s book, Sacred Quest. Here are some of his thoughts, mixed with my own:

  1. What at first may be seen as the beginning of a reactionary time may instead be its dying gasp, as a new and forward-looking alternative is birthed.
  2. Everything in the cosmos is in motion, so attempts to cling to the status quo, or to re-create a static condition, are ultimately futile and self-defeating.
  3. Evolution is not just about biology, but also about social, spiritual, and political changes that move human societies toward greater compassion, justice, and peace.
  4. Evolution is messy and meandering, not an instantaneous straight-line process. It takes time.

I pondered all this recently during PeaceWorks’ sixth annual Memorial Day Walk. During that 10-mile trek we passed beautiful fields and woods that evidenced the wonders of nature, and the evolutionary creative process. … And then we arrived at the new nuclear weapons parts plant, where a once un-blighted soybean field is now acre upon acre of asphalt and concrete.

What can one do in the face of this massive monument to the military-corporate-entertainment-advertising-educational complex? Since silence is assent, some 50 people gathered to raise a peace witness—staging a “die-in” to mourn the lives poisoned in nuclear weapons production, and raising the vision of a nuclear-weapons- free world.

This is what we can do. Seek the truth. Join with others. Witness for justice and peace. Persist. And above all, don’t lose heart! Forces much larger than petty self-interest are already at work, visible to those with eyes to see.

Photo:  Zoe Ross, 6, full of heart at the Walk/Ride/Die-in on Memorial Day. —Jim Hannah photo