'We need a vision of transformational change' - ex-US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney
After serving in the Georgia Legislature, in 1992, Cynthia McKinney won a seat in the US House of Representatives. She was the first African-American woman from Georgia in the US Congress. In 2005, McKinney was a vocal critic of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and was the first member of Congress to file articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. In 2008, Cynthia McKinney won the Green Party nomination for the US presidency.
© Mark Blinch
One need do nothing more than take a look around to see that the situation in the world is dire. A dire situation, however, does not mean there is no possibility of change; a dire situation means that the timing is ripe for change. Exactly the transformational change that is the subject for contemplation today.

For the past three weeks, I have written about the deep, transformational, second-order change that I would like to see for a peaceful world. I’ve mentioned transformational change in each essay that I’ve written for Russia Today. But, it has become patently clear to me that my writing about transformational change is not enough to make it happen.

Others have heard my call for deep, transformational change because I began to receive messages from friends and strangers who wanted to help me describe the vision that will allow us to traverse the turbulence of second-order change more easily.They reminded me that one would be loathe to get out of their comfort zone and ride the wave of transformation if they had no clear idea of the vision or destination.

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Unless I fully communicate that to everyone paying attention, I won’t get buy-in on my idea of the pressing need for transformational change—no matter how attractive the end result of that change might be. Therefore, I was pleased to receive commentary from a few observers, lending their own ideas about the kind of vision that motivates them to do more for more. I will begin with my own vision and then proceed to the ideas of others that I find refreshing and worthy of further discussion.

A Statement of My Values

After years of being inside the US political ring, getting bloodied and bruised, I formulated my own vision of the values that are important to me. I start with truth, because so much of our present political reality has been built on an edifice of lies that I believe we must start all over again and rebuild a collective reality around truth. With truth, it is possible for us to re-vision a just reality, for we cannot build justice on a foundation of lies. With justice at hand, peace can be, also. And a just peace moves us up in our humanity to the ultimate value which, in my opinion, is dignity—both Human and Earth. So, truth, justice, peace, and dignity are the values that I walk with every day of my life.

From Values to Vision

I think drastic corrective action is urgently needed. Quite frankly, the world is in a shambles—by design. But it is now time for us collaboratively to interpose our vision and our directed action onto the warmongers’ plan. We need to give them more resistance than they are getting from us now. That is why I participate freely in so many conferences, protests, and other opportunities to communicate that there are many different worlds that we can create, but only if we care enough and love enough to sacrifice to do it. I hope I have articulated my vision enough to wear the moniker that I earned while in Congress: “the cause lady.”

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I think the most succinct communication of my vision came on my birthday a few years ago, in 2007, in front of the Pentagon, when it dawned on me that the Democrats were warmongers as vociferously and ferociously as were the Repbublicans. In other words, when I realized that there exists a bipartisan consensus that the United States will make war for the next generation—just as Vice President Dick Cheney had said after September 11, 2001. In light of that sad recognition, I told a crowd of supporters:

“In 1957, Dr. King observed that both political parties had betrayed the cause of justice. And so it must be repeated today. Our beloved America is dividing again in two Americas. Our struggle is for nothing less than the soul of our country. We want an America that is respected in the commonwealth of man; we want our values to shine like a beacon around the world. As an American of conscience, I hereby declare my independence from every bomb dropped; every threat leveled, every civil liberties rollback, every child killed every veteran maimed every man tortured. And I sadly declare my independence from the leaders who let it happen.”

In short, I want the United States to become a country that is a peace leader and a peace maker, but not a Pax Americana, imposed on the world with U.S. weapons and war. For the world, I want us all to be able to rise to our highest potential while living in dignity and while protecting the Earth and our place on this planet. In his recent speech to the U.S. Congress, the Pope seemed to endorse these very ideas.

Collaborating on Vision

So, that is where I start. It was refreshing to me to receive messages from others who wanted to freely share their vision with me, too. And immediately I thought that perhaps if we had one great big national and/or global meetup that we could hammer out a vision that would satisfy the needs of all of us, including representatives from across the entire political spectrum, who are fed up with the way things presently are. And it was from this wide political spectrum that I received the following input.

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Some suggested that egalitarianism should be a part of the vision. I don’t disagree. Others are suggesting that we move beyond capitalism and start building a post-capitalist reality. I don’t disagree. In fact, I think we should definitely add to that post-racist, too, as hatred and division work to the disadvantage of those of us who are working for peace and to the advantage of those who advocate never-ending war.

In addition to egalitarianism, post-capitalism, and anti-racism, one suggestion that came to me was that we should support a sharing economy; I don’t disagree with that. In Venezuela, people have begun to take these matters, of building the future that they want, into their own hands and are recreating the Kilombo—the cities of old begun by trafficked Africans who fought for their freedom and staved off a fate of becoming a slave. These “liberated zones” are popping up all over Venezuela right now, today. Some also call them Socialist Cities. (I mention this phenomenon in my dissertation on Hugo Chavez’s leadership of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.)

The ALBA states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and others in the region affirm the centrality of human and Earth dignity in their Constitutions and in their policies. Africans refer to it as African Socialism or Ujamaa; some call it Ubuntu. And the Kilombos are run on the basis of this. Where love and connection are the basis of human interactions; vengeance is replaced by restorative action. It is refreshing to see others acting on their vision of a life with dignity.

On A Mission for Peace and Dignity

Therefore, I hope to be where others with like interests gather—in social media, in books, in videos—wherever I can communicate my vision and share and exchange notes with others. I believe that knowledge that we are not alone is empowering and encourages others to act on their vision for peace, too. In these days of earbuds and smartphones, it is easy to become isolated in the midst of social and un—or worse, mis-informed in a multitude of media.

I have also tried to extend myself with dignity to centers of opinion that are far-removed from my lived experiences. I firmly believe that the situation is so repugnant now that we cannot remain on our couches of comfort. I’ve reached out to militia members, Oath Keepers, Christian Identity believers—all in an effort to understand and share and probe for areas of possible collaboration. And yes, I have found some common ground. My mission is to find common ground and then build from there. Actually, this is the kind of work that I did in my Congressional district that was dangerous—bringing people together on the basis of our common vision for ourselves and our country.

My Congressional district was redistricted so many times and part of the reason was to prevent that very possibility from ever occurring in the Old Confederacy of the US. There’s profit in demonization and war; but, instead, I imagine the bounty in peace.

Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman & 2008 presidential candidate for the Green Party, for RT.

@cynthiamckinney

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.