John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

A Quaker Perspective About Says It All

January 23, 2012John N. GardnerInsights0

John Gardner

 For the past several weeks living here in western North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, the airwaves have been inundated with the South Carolina Republican Presidential primary attack ads that have perniciously polluted our consciousness. I am so glad I don’t live there any more during such a period. I have been following closely the excellent New York Times coverage of the incredible things these candidates have been saying especially in their predictable race baiting comments about President Obama. I think I have heard and read it all—and not only about playing the tried and true race card, but all the commentary on the 99% vs the 1%.

 But, just when I reached this point of saturation, I was reading my now home town newspaper, a little twice-a-week publication in Brevard, North Carolina, population 6000, The Transylvania Times. This paper is one of the reasons I love living here. It is a vital organ of local democracy. In the January 19, 2012 issue they printed a “guest column” which reported on a motion taken at the monthly Brevard Friends meeting of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). I am constantly looking for and devouring writing that is better than my own and the following motion certainly fits in that category. I share it with you for hopefully your appreciation and concurrence with the views expressed:

 “We have listened to the concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement with a growing sense of appreciation for its seeking to “speak truth into power,” a long-time Quaker tradition. We agree that our current economic system is unsustainable, undemocratic, and unjust, and that the world’s resources must go towards caring for all the people of the planet we all share, not just the privileged few. We are grateful for the movement’s efforts to bring these issues to national and world attention. We are impressed that there is a desire for consensus building among the many participants, and that most of them are striving to do so in a non-violent manner, in the traditions of Jesus, Gandhi, King, and our own Quaker testimonies.

 Further, we want to acknowledge that most of the participants are of the younger generation, and that it is in the youth of our nation that the fires of idealism and reform often burn the brightest, while we who are older often are willing to settle for the status quo. We thank them for their insights, their passions, and for their belief that together we can build a more just and equitable world.

 We see the aims of Occupy Wall Street as being similar to the mission of our Friends Committee on National Legislation (

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war.
We seek a society with equity and justice for all.
We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled.
We seek an earth restored.”

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