Gandhi: Shoulder to Shoulder
Trump, Gandhi, evil, is there a connection? This morning Mr. Gandhi suggests that there is and that our approach to what is happening in our country today may have something to learn from that not-so-long-ago travesty in Hitler's Germany.
Mahatma Gandhi: I come to you this morning which is the anniversary of my time in addressing the war of aggression in Europe by Adolf Hitler’s Germany. Unlike others, I did not see a uniform body of evil but a man whose way had become obscured by his own ambition and self-interest. It was my intent, futile as you know, to bring him and others to a sense of perspective on the path they were travelling. These words, however, still apply to any figure in history who attempts to claim the glory that God gave the planet in its many iterations of species, plants, animals, and humans. The diversity of such is a cause for celebration not eradication.
Though these words failed in their object, I have asked Ann to bring them to your attention because they are no less apt today when your government has lost its way and when the methods of peaceful protest can still have force and power in your struggling democracy. Eternal vigilance is necessary to avoid slipping by into the void of narrowed vision and hate-filled action. We have power should we choose to exercise it.
Letter to Adolf Hitler written December 24, 1940, apparently never sent:
That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective of race, colour or creed….
In non-violent technique, as I have said, there is no such thing as defeat. It is all ‘do or die’ without killing or hurting. It can be used practically without money and obviously without the aid of science of destruction which you have brought to such perfection. It is a marvel to me that you do not see that it is nobody's monopoly. If not the British, some other power will certainly improve upon your method and beat you with your own weapon. You are leaving no legacy to your people of which they would feel proud. They cannot take pride in a recital of cruel deed, however skillfully planned....”
The power of non-violent resistance is as much a force for change today as it was in India in my day. We are asked today to consent by our silence to the gradual disenfranchisement and eventual obliteration of those who oppose the unfettered rule of the Trump administration. Every means short of violence must be employed against this tide. We must move shoulder to shoulder to stand against these forces or we leave this battle to be waged over much rockier terrain to our emerging generations. I implore you to take a stand together against this tyranny. It can be done without imperiling our mortal souls, and we will find another world on the other side.
May 15, 2020