“All people whose minds are healthy can desire peace, and there is an ability within all people, especially the young, to grasp and hold strongly to the principles of righteousness. Those principles of righteousness demand that all thoughts of prejudice, privilege, or superiority be swept away, and that recognition be given to the reality that the creation is intended for the benefit of all equally. Even the birds and animals, the trees and the insects, as well as the people. The world does not belong to the humans — it is the rightful property of the Great Creator.”
— The Peacemaker; circa 400 ad
The historical figure known as the Peacemaker lived in the northeast of what today is the United States of America. He was born at a time when society was in disarray: the empires of the Ohio River Valley were faltering, thus creating a failing economy among those people who had enjoyed the rural-urban system of trade. These tensions impacted relationships between communities, clans, and family life. Conflicts led to blood feuds, and people lived in fear of violence.
At this time, the people who lived in the northeast were dealing with changes in technology, as well as in the production of foods. Thus, there were also tensions between the sexes, and a growing shift in the balance of power between males and females. One can find parallels between that time and today.
The Peacemaker was a reformation prophet. The message that he delivered was based upon what are known as the Original Instructions. They are known in other cultures as the Ten Commandments. An earlier prophet — a young man known as Sapling — had taught them sometime around 1800 bc, again at a time of cultural change. What makes the Peacemaker unique is that he envisioned a form of democratic government that continues to work today.
Now, the majority of those college students who are actively supporting Senator Bernie Sanders’s run for president have never heard of the Peacemaker. Public schools do not teach about him — though they should. However, we hear these wonderful young adults speaking about the very things that the Peacemaker said they would be. For great principles are timeless, and no individual ever “owns” them.
That brings us to one of the major differences between the campaigns of Bernie and Hillary. As elders who support Bernie Sanders, we urge today’s youth to rage against the machine, while our opposition tells them they must become cogs. Guess who they respect and listen to?
The other closely-related difference between the two groups was summed up beautifully by Albert Camus: “This is what separated us from you: we made demands. You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation, and we dreamed of giving ours her truth.”
That is what this movement is about: the truth of the American experience. And all of the best episodes in this nation’s history are rooted in democracy — just as the worst involve the denial of basic human rights advanced by democracy. Democracy demands constant struggle. And that is part of the on-going American experience.
Keep on fighting the Good Fight!
Patrick R. McElligott