Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Adams: Vote for Love

Published on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 by CommonDreams.org

On November 7, Be Smart: Vote for Love

by Patch Adams

While the State Department’s Alberto Fernandez felt obligated to take back his comments that elements of U.S. policy in Iraq have been arrogant and stupid, the truth is that U.S. policy post-9/11 has been driven by arrogance and stupidity. What could be stupider than the idea that violence could end the threat of terrorism and make us safer at home? Simple logic tells us that responding to terror with more violence will only lead to more terror and more violence. Now we have that logic confirmed by the grim facts on the ground in Iraq.

Isn’t it time for a radical change of course? There’s only one thing more powerful than violence, and that’s love. So shouldn’t we be fighting violence with love? I don’t mean relational love. I mean treating people with love. Feeding them. Educating them. Healing them. That kind of love.

As a doctor—and a clown—I’ve seen the tremendous healing power of love. The number one factor for surviving a heart attack is having a loving community. A study of 4,000 women with breast cancer found that with a little love—six hour-long support sessions—their survival rate increased five-fold. With the situation in Iraq imploding, tensions increasing with Iran and North Korea, and our government’s policies leading more and more people to hate Americans, it’s time to take the healing power of love to the global level. It’s time for a love platform.

What’s a love platform? It’s a set of policies that shows compassion for the elderly, the mentally ill, the homeless, the poor. It’s a platform that treats the environment with the loving respect it deserves.

A love platform would call for kissing, not killing. You switch two little letters and you get a whole new outlook on life. Kissing, not killing.

A love platform would put women in charge—women with loving instincts who would treat the world the way my mother treated my friends when they came to my house. She fed them, she wiped their noses, she was nice. That’s it. We’d have a policy called “Be Nice.” If everyone treated people like my mother did, we’d put an end to violence.

We need to create a massive global movement for loving. It would be like the Peace Corps times 10,000. People who have resources would go, en masse, to help those without. People with skills would teach those without. People who are healthy would take care of those who are sick.

We’d save cabinet positions for the Amish people who embraced the family of the man who killed their children. We’d put in charge of foreign policy the people who lost loved ones on 9/11 but insisted that revenge was not the answer, or the women of CODEPINK who tried desperately to stop the war in Iraq before it even began.

It really amazes me that we spend so many hours as a society focusing on love as sex or love that some consider perverse: Mark Foley sending emails to underage boys, Bill Clinton with an intern, love between people of the same sex. But we spend no time focusing on the big love that should drive our lives and our policies, i.e. love for the human family. We spend no time in school teaching young people how to grow up to be loving adults. The media gives us never-ending examples of violence and hate, but rarely gives us the uplifting examples of the kid who spends his lunch money on feeding the homeless. We hear about the brave soldiers who fight, but not about the people—often women—who force the soldiers to put down their guns.

For those who say that a love platform is ridiculous and naive, I ask them to compare the results of the $300 billion we’ve spent on war in Iraq with what we would get if we had spent that money on setting up health clinics all over the world and feeding people who are hungry. I travel around the world and meet lots of people who fear and hate us. If we spent our energy and resources uplifting people in need—spreading laughter and light instead of bombs and bullets—we’d live in a world that was happier, healthier and safer.

So come November 7, be smart. Vote out stupid and arrogant candidates who think that occupying Iraq by force or bombing Iran will make us safe. And vote for candidates who understand the simple notion that love is not only the best medicine, it’s also smart policy.

Patch Adams, M.D., is a nationally known speaker on wellness, laughter, humor and life. To support peace candidates, go to www.givepeaceavote.org.

1 comment:

Realrealgone said...

I'm so grateful for this web site. Pray without ceasing, indeed. And don't forget the prayers of gratitude for the little treasures we find amid the seemingly endless dross.