It Starts with Mothers

Let a spirit of compassion and nurturing guide us

| November / December 2005

'Look what Casey has started. I see and feel him in all of your eyes. I'm not ashamed to say that Camp Casey is a place where you can come and feel love. When I nursed him, I promised him that I would never let him go to war. I broke that promise to him. I can't bear for another mother to go through the pain that I'm going through. And that is the only reason that I'm doing what I'm doing. We are millions of people strong and the mothers are saying, 'No, I am not giving my sons to you.''
-- Cindy Sheehan, August 24, 2005, Crawford, Texas

About a year and a half ago, my 19-year-old son, Oliver, said something that has haunted me. When I asked him why kids his age weren't taking more initiative in opposing the war, he said, 'This time, it has to start with mothers.'

It turns out Oliver was right. When Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, she declared that 'we women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.' As Oliver and I discovered when we went to Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan is modeling that tenderness. The love between a bereaved mother and her dead son is palpable.

It is time for the sensibility that galvanized Cindy Sheehan to arouse in all of us, men and women, the protective forces of the tigress and the mother bear. It's time to end the occupation of Iraq and for the fierce feminine qualities of love, compassion, and nurturing to dictate public policy. It's time to open our eyes and our hearts to all the suffering in our own country -- suffering exposed by Hurricane Katrina. It's time to move past our fears and into action on behalf of the earth and all her children.

Social analyst and ecopsychology pioneer Theodore Roszak says, 'As women come more and more into their own, the qualities that we have long assumed were exclusively and stereotypically theirs will come to be more widely acknowledged. Institutions now grounded in harshly competitive market values will give more and more place to care, cooperation, and mutual aid. In the century to come, we can expect our cultural style to be steadily reshaped by the other half of the human race.' In fact, this reshaping has already begun. We find hope in all the ways women are stepping into leadership all over the world and in the men who are evolved enough to honor the feminine in themselves as well as in women. Our cover section examines and celebrates this emergence.

The subject is especially appropriate for my first issue as editor in chief and for the unveiling of our evolving redesign. We've made the magazine more accessible, navigable, and inviting in order to give you essential information and inspiration. We rethought everything during the redesign -- even our name. Utne means 'far out' in Norwegian, and we're still that. But we also found some resonance, a new meaning that turns Utne into an acronym for Understanding The Next Evolution. That's what we're here to do with you. Welcome to the new Utne.

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