“I realize that the Earth doesn’t have to be governed by fear and violence. I simply decided that raising and nurturing 11 children was too much of an investment to leave unguarded.….I decided to take action myself and not let the future of my family be decided by someone else.
I want my children to know that questioning authority is right and that acts of conscience should be the norm.”
Agnes became an activist in the 1980's inspired by the Plowshares Movement; though her words continue to have great releavance for all of us who are concerned about the state of our world and the future for all children.
As an elder activist I believe that NOW is our time to stand for what I know to be true. I have the wisdom acquired through many years of life experience, and the time and resources to do what I was not able to when I was younger. I understand the importance of speaking truth to power; and, if not now, when will I speak my truth?
More importantly, I believe that we all have the inner urging at this time of in our lives to leave a legacy of a just and thriving world for future generations.
....was a popular bumper sticker back in the 1960’s and its popularity is attributed to controversial psychologist Timothy Leary. Yet it was one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who said: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” (Wikipedia) Imagine that it is our responsibility to question authority! How different than in my 20's when Question Authority was intended to be an act of defiance.
At this time of my life Question Authority is a call to dig deeper, and not have my mind and opinions shaped by 24/7 news, public reactions and commentary.
Question Authority encourages us to seek truth.
- Why is it that we are willing to close our border to immigrants because 128 people were killed in a terrorist attack while we are not able to pass legislation regarding gun control?
- Why is it that the US is 5% of the world’s population and has 25% of the world’s prisoners?
- Or, that 5 times as many Whites use drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites?
- Why is it that 39% of the children in my city of Philadelphia live below the poverty line, the 5th largest city in the U.S, while our Gross National Income continues to rise?
In her essay Agnes continues to write: “….commitment to family does not preclude commitment to the rest of humanity or the call to conscience….I must take responsibility for the world I live in and act on my faith, regardless of the consequences….To realize that I had the freedom to act on my convictions was very liberating. I now can foresee a world for my children and grandchildren.”
I look forward to the year 2016 to see what we, as Elder-Activists, might bring forth in our world in this time; and I am grateful for Agnes Baurlein's words and her courageous acts of conscience.
May our love for life, our pain for the world, our wisdom and resources guide each of us to Question Authority and protect our investments, to speak truth to power, and to live our days with integrity and hope.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Read more about Agnes Bauerlein in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Activist Showed That Peace Takes Courage
- Consider – What do you know to be true? What are you prepared to speak up for? If not now? Then when?
- What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? --Mary Oliver