Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Working Together

We don't have to
agree with each other
in order to explore

~ Margaret Wheatley

The strength of team work is in the diversity of experience and ideas in the team.  Working as I do in the semiconductor industry I've seen this dynamic play out over and over again.  Admittedly, getting the team through the beginning stages is the hardest part.  It takes time for the group to solidify and learn each others work styles.  Much of this is cultural.  And certainly if it wasn't for the artificial necessity of work, these teams would not make the effort.

But I'd think that peace is worth that effort.  There are so many different groups working on peace related issues that rarely cross pollinate.  I spent years working on GLBT issues, never meeting others working on  Human Rights issues globally.  Yet I see now that it was a loss to our work, as the global work has crossed many of the difficult bridges we were struggling over.  But what about something even more diverse.  What about the sacredness of human life?  We all agree that murder is wrong.  But then what about state sanctioned murder, war and capital punishment?  What about abortion?  How can anyone say that life is more precious before birth than after?  I see so many possibilities for humans to work together on the sanctity of life issue.  But for so many people it seems that life is only special when it is still in the womb, unable to defend itself, and American.  In the name of Freedom and spreading Democracy we have annihilated so many innocent children and pregnant women by dropping bombs indiscriminately on civilian areas.  Are darker colored humans less than a single American embryo?  I should hope not.

I'm reading Nicolas Kristof's, Half the Sky, that shows the brutal violence against women worldwide.  We're talking about young girls being sold into sexual slavery, or girls allowed to starve while their brothers eat and get medical care.  In China and India Ultrasound techs are not allowed to reveal the gender of the child because females will be aborted.  Instead we find that the female child in these countries has a very high likelihood of dying by age 5, a very slow and miserable death at that.  The level of misogyny in our world is overwhelming and heartbreaking.  I wonder if throwing stones or yelling hateful words at young, poor pregnant women attempting to get into an abortion clinic isn't exactly that, America's misogyny.  Women have the unequal burden when bringing a child into this world.  It is her life that will be most drastically altered.  It seems to me, that if we all banded together to work on improving life for women in the world, that would reduce abortion.  And one way to improve the lives of women in this world is to end wars and help provide support in education and health care both to women abroad and at home.

I hope that we can all begin to find common ground to work from.  The richness of experience we all bring to these issues can help us foster into existence a truly sustainable solution.


Tom H. Hastings said...

Thank you for an insightful and challenging piece. For those of us who struggle to practice nonviolence, abortion is such a thorny issue. When we are in favor of a woman's complete autonomy, we are accused of not caring about life until it leaves the mother's womb. When we are against abortion, we are accused of patriarchal domineering. In my humble opinion, as long as patriarchy is the norm, men should simply be quiet about this issue and let women decide, period (and perhaps after patriarchy is an issue too). I guess my favorite quote comes from Julian Bond, whom I met back in the day and who said at one speech I recorded for a tribal radio station, "They seem to have decided that human rights begin at conception and end at birth."

Terri said...

That's a terrific quote.