by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
December 31, 2000
Millennium Editorial: A REVOLUTION OF OUR SOULS
At midnight tonight - and in the swift passage of a single second - a minute, an hour, a day, a month, a year, a decade, a century and the Second Millennium following the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem will come to a close, whether finished or not, perfected or not; and a vast highway flat to the vanishing point, a mountain that dwarfs our lives, a sea of time whose horizon is impossibly far, the Third Millennium, will open before us. But we are human, and our lives, after all, are about tomorrow.
Tomorrow is not yet assured. There remains, in no small part due to the unintended influence of Jesus Christ and all the religious leaders that arose before and since, the specter of wars, strife and civil dissolution ahead of us. Although the author of this editorial is a Christian, it is still clear to him that it is religion, and then language, and then national frontiers, and always our own imperfect hearts, that divide humanity with such evil results.
Just this week, Indonesia and The Philippines have seen their streets and churches and homes shattered by bombs that were set to explode when people were most likely to be hurt, and they took more than two dozen lives in the name of religion. We saw in this country in this same week two mass murders, each of seven people, and yet another person intent on mass murder almost succeeded in causing the crash of a passenger jet with hundreds of people aboard, with no apparent motive at all. In the Middle East, the irony of death by ambush came to leaders of two of the most extreme factions of Jews and Muslims on this Sunday morning. In China, six Islamic protestors were slain by police after they traveled hundreds of miles in a bus to protest religious slurs. Violence comes from so many sources that to blame religion or any single cause is to miss the flaws and imperfection of the human heart.
If there is a pattern in any of these things, there is probably no such thing as reason; but if there is no pattern, and such things happen independently and without reason, there is no hope. Not all hope must rely on reason; real hope relies on faith. That is how we enter the Third Millennium: as we entered the world, and as our furthest ancestors entered the door on the other side of which lay humanness: naked to the world, immensely vulnerable, immersed in self-concern, and poorly equipped for survival, moving forward from our starting point of fear because of a faith that there is something just ahead, around the corner, in the next hour, that will change us and our families and our lives and our countries and all of civilization from a course of self-destruction to one of financial independence, systemic benevolence and peace.
Just as many do not see a current that ripples beneath our civilization like a killer riptide, gathering strength to draw all of us down into its cold embrace, many of us too see no sign or light or symbol ahead that will lift our eyes and inspire us to take the first halting steps into a new and challenging time. We travel blind, a second and a footstep at a time.
That is perhaps why we need leaders more than we ever have. A man or woman whose vision sees a little further than the vanishing point, a bit beyond the mountain top, a little past the endless horizon, is a star to humankind who can help us set our course even as the ancient seagoing races used heavenly stars to move across waters that stilled and terrified them.
Today a single human heart cannot sacrifice itself to open the doors of progress and prosperity; many such hearts must open those doors, and the best of them must lead. Nor can we count on the leadership solely of the politician and the statesman; we must also have faith in the leadership of the true poet, the soaring voice in song, the bold playwright, the brilliant scientist, the gifted mathematician, the good person of faith.
This newspaper, which must be among the very poorest on the planet, and this editor, who must therefore be among the most incompetent, are yet light years ahead of networks and syndicates and cartels whose only shining star is cash, whose only faith is greed, for whom all perfection lies in profit, all progress in power. They are set against our human hearts, and as all such things some day must do, will destroy us or be destroyed by us unless we are all destroyed by nature before that can occur, or graced by an unanticipated revolution of our souls. All the rest is detail; history is in the conflict and resolution.
A millennium hence will not see us at the end of this distinction between good and greed, nor will the voyage of all its centuries bring us at last to a perfect shore. But it is the faith of this newspaper, and this one heart, that in the end good hearts will triumph, slowly, in the seconds and minutes and hours and days and months and decades of struggle for the ordinary and the plain, for the weak, the lost and the hungry. Then, if this is so, it may one day be said that we did have visions in our youth, and that our dreams did shine in the night, steering our poor ship, our little battered boat of life, to a world more safe and more secure. May it be so.
The American Reporter, its staff and friends, sincerely wish each of its faithful readers and all of its new friends peace beyond imagining and a millennium of love. May God bless us all.