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Dr.Jacobs' 2-minute speech in response to the week of September 11, 2001

Presented at the NAU Teach-In on 9-17-01


I am honored to be here with all of you today and offer each of you a warm handshake. My few words come from both my heart and my head. I speak as a U.S. citizen, an American Indian, a Marine Corps veteran of Viet Nam, a critical educator, and as a grandfather.

The most widely used text in the U.S. for training EMTs and paramedics is Prentice-Hall's Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured. The preface of the 9th edition states: "During times of stress, words, especially from perceived authority figures, may become fixed in the patient's mind and cause untold harm." During this time of stress, the repetitive words of our nation's authority figures intentionally and/or unintentionally may be maneuvering this country toward "untold harm."

In effect, they are hypnotizing people to accept a form of nationalism that is more about win-lose competition; us versus them politics; business as usual global economic agendas; state control and eye for an eye theology, than it is about the authentic principles of democracy that emphasize justice, equality and responsible love- concepts that I believe inform true American patriotism.

As a result, an all too familiar line is forming applauding the Emperor's new clothes; prepared to wage war at any cost; shouting that we are the beacon of freedom for the world while ignoring our own contributions to the kind of violence against justice, civil rights, indigenous people, peace, sovereignty and Nature that inspires the insanity of terrorism.

Now is the time for critical thinking. It is the time for a spirituality that connects rather than divides; that loves rather than hates. It is a time for authentic virtues like courage, humility, generosity, forgiveness, honesty and fortitude, not just in response to tragedy, but as a way of life.

Gandhi said "I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson is to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world."

So please do not let anger, religion, media, politics or PAC-fund elected leaders misdirect you during this time of stress. Do not let pride or fear or unknowing prevent you from respectful conversations that embrace various viewpoints. Now is the time for all of us to be grateful that we are part of an American university, where such conversations are supposed to be happening in the pursuit of truth and for the sake of future generations of Beings that belong to Mother Earth. It is time to unite a language of criticism with a language of possibility.

Mitakuye Oyasin. We are all related.


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