September 11, 2001
Paul Littlebear looked out the window of the taxi winding its way through New York traffic toward Newark, New Jersey's international airport. He leaned his 6'2" frame forward; tapping on the window separating the driver from the two fares in the back. "Is traffic always this bad?"
"Just sit back and relax, Buddy. You're going to get to the airport on time."
Relax. Paul never did know how to relax. He looked at his twin sister, Pauline, calmly stroking the beads on the ancient belt she held in her long, slender fingers. Although the belt was worn and tattered, its value was immeasurable. Paul studied his sister holding the priceless covenant chain. How could two people who looked so much alike be so different? Paul looked at the sleek, raven hair so much like his own, hers in braids and his tied in a pony tail reaching to his shoulders. Pauline's blue eyes were fascinating and inviting, his were brooding, announcing stay away from me. Pauline's eyes met her brother's as she said, "Settle down, Paul, we'll make it."
"We'll make it." Those words reminded him of that time years ago when those words helped him get through the court ordered drug rehab program and his first year of sobriety. Paul's irritability reminded him of the truth of the saying, "One Day at a Time." Paul kept telling himself to think only about today's events; nothing else mattered. He took a few deep breaths, sat back and closed his eyes. He was tired, in fact exhausted.
"Here we are, right on time." Paul jerked, opening his eyes as the taxi pulled over to the loading zone under the United Air Lines sign. He opened the door and stepped out, helping his sister before grabbing the luggage from the trunk. After tipping the driver, the two walked into the airport terminal to check in for United Air Lines Flight 93 headed for San Francisco.
The Peacemaker begins and ends on September 11, 2001. That date in American history was the defining moment for America as we faced the beginning of the 21st Century which would be full of challenges brought on at the very beginning of our history, cycles of never ending wars, recessions and depressions, and the unending struggles to unite the country so that it could live up to the words listed in the Preamble to the Constitution -
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Those who were around on September 11, 2001 wondered about those words as the United States faced the dawn of a new millennium. Anyone who had lived through the 20th Century and who studied the history of this country could tell you that at that time we were far from living up to the promise of these words written by our Founding Fathers in 1787. What went wrong? What would the 21st Century hold with the threat of nuclear warfare, terrorism, the slow disappearance of the Middle Class, urban unrest and violence not only in the home but on urban streets everywhere? What was going to happen to the environment suffering under the intense heat of global warming?
These issues continued to be part of the debate in 2009 when I published the first edition of The Peacemaker, revising it in 2010. When I finished the book, Barack Obama had been elected to the Presidency - another watermark in changing the course of American history. This is what I wrote in the Epilogue to the book :
As of June 8th 2008, the Oneida Land Claim dispute is still stalled in the federal courts. There is still controversy in every part of the nation over Indian sovereignty and whether indigenous people (changed the term from Native Americas) should pay state and federal taxes. In the summer of 2008 Wall St. took another dramatic downturn and the economy is in another deep recession. The United States is deeply entangled in war in Iraq, and Israel and the Palestinians continue waging war. Osama Bin Laden will probably die from old age (wrong) despite the billions of dollars spent chasing him. History was made in the Election of 2008 pitting a female and African-American male in a dramatic race for the Democratic Party's nomination for President. Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president: however, Obama's mother was Caucasian.
The Peacemaker is about realizing our unity. America is a country of blending. We are not an Aryan nation. We are one people from many different ethnicities and cultures. We are one nation and the key to our unity must be in coming together as one celebrating our different heritages and traditions that enrich us as we put aside past hurts and grievances. If we cannot make peace in our families or in our communities we cannot make peace in the world. We must become a nation of peacemakers - not peacekeepers. A peace that is kept with weapons of destruction is not peace at all. We must learn to resolve differences with words of love and forgiveness not by overpowering those who differ with us. In Alex Haley's book Roots Kunta Kinte's teacher during his manhood training teaches that you do not get rid of an enemy by killing him. Instead, you create generations of enemies among the descendants who continually seek to avenge that death.
As we make peace with the human race, we must also make peace with the earth that sustains us. We must learn to live in harmony with the earth once again and help it heal from centuries of abuse. We are children of the same creator and of one family no matter which creation story we believe. We are all peacemakers. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
As I write these words in 2020 I look around me and what do I see. I see weather catastrophes, wildfires, flooding, intense storms and wildfires recurring every year wiping out the homes and fortunes of the people living in drought prone areas and on disappearing shore lines. I think about social media and the decline in American decency and literacy and inability to think critically about events - primarily because we, as a nation, have lost our connections to the earth that sustains us and have surrendered to partisan politics and "education" by celebrities or mass marketers instead of reading and dialogue. I think about the emotional tirades of people screaming about "erasing" history because they really don't know anything but the lies of white man's political history that have been propagated by those white land owning men who founded this country to serve them and not "we the people."
The Peacemaker is a generational saga a story that incorporates the history of all the people in this country - a family living out the formation of a country that moved from 1720 to September 11, 2001. Although it is the story of one family it is truly not his story (those who founded the republic) but our story. It is the story of the struggles for those left out of participation in the "democratic republic" and explains how we got to where we were on September 11, 2001 and why we are where we are today.
When I finished the book in 2008, Obama had just been elected President. The book ends on September 11, 2001 but there is an Epilogue with some predictions about the nature of an Obama Presidency and what I think should be important. Unfortunately. President Obama was unable to bring the country together and in 2016 everyone knows who was elected President - a minority President which shows the need for reform in the Electoral College.
Mr. Trump has been President for four years. It has been a time of a division so great that I am wondering if we will ever unite. Trump's presidency began with national and international protests challenging the validity of his election. For four years members of the opposing party have been crying about this but have done almost nothing to reform the Electoral College. That is the problem. President Trump's advisers did a better job of playing the Electoral Map and building on the sketchy politics of the Democratic Party. Now, after four years, we have a repeat of the 2016 election with even more division and hate and a world wide pandemic that has somehow been made a issue by the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders further split the Democratic Party by bringing out the corruption and control of corporate America which also controls the funding and in return, controls the leaders they get elected to office. What has been done about this? Have there been any efforts to establish term limits for members of Congress? Congress has surrendered its legislative power to partisanship so strong that nothing can be accomplished. What about lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court? And during all this the average public sits around concerned about Mr. Trump's abuse of power when they don't realize we have given him that power. We have become a country ruled by executive orders, government regulations, and the fossil fueled lifestyle promoted by the military industrial complex. I don't know and don't really care which Presidential candidate wins the election, but I will predict in four years it is going to be the same ole same ole unless we go back into history and look at what went wrong and then try to re invent the American democracy. That is why I wrote The Peacemaker http://kentuckywoman.net.