“A Letter to Obama,” Tikkun, Jan., 2009

A Letter to President Elect Obama,
Published in Tikkun magazine, January, 2009,
by John Dear
Thank you President Elect Obama, for writing of the audacity of hope. Now I urge you to take on the audacity to pursue peace. The world looks to you to end the evil war on Iraq, on inauguration day. You need not obey the warmakers, the military, the generals, and the Pentagon. This need not drag on one day more. You can order the troops home now. For the love of peace, please do so.
But it’s just the beginning. The vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., demanded the abolition of war itself. We must end starvation, poverty, nuclear weapons and global warming. We urge you, therefore, to dismantle every nuclear weapon and weapon of mass destruction, close our hundreds of military bases around the world, sign disarmament treaties with the nations and deploy the billions of dollars spent on war to rebuild our economy and feed the world’s starving masses.
It’s doable; it’s not a dream. When Nelson Mandela became president, he unilaterally dismantled South Africa’s nuclear weapons (as well as abolished the death penalty). Nuclear weapons do not protect us. They steal our resources and incite other nations to build similar weapons. And threat descends on us all. We need our scientists to pursue life-giving research instead. Set them free to study alternative sources of energy that can reverse global warming and heal the earth.
But even more, as we dismantle the imperial war machine, and close places like Guantanamo, the School of the Americas, Los Alamos and Livermore Labs, we need to start funding and institutionalizing nonviolent ways to resolve global conflict. We need to teach nonviolent methods in every U.S. school. We need to win the world over with our nonviolent love by becoming a force for peace in our world.
The days of war are coming to an end. War is obsolete. It doesn’t work. Peace and active nonviolence do. Millions of Americans, especially in the communities of faith and conscience, as well as billions of sisters and brothers around the world, are hoping and praying for a new dawn of peace, the day when the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more,” as the prophet Isaiah wrote long ago.
Be a true hopemaker, Mr. Obama. Become a real peacemaker. If you do, we will all be blessed.