We are frightened of all the wrong things. We are terrified that we will die; we are afraid of how we will die. Let me count the ways: by cancer, by Ebola, by terrorists, by warring gangs on city streets. We expend so much of our life-juices fearing the obvious, the inevitable. In fact: we will die. We are nothing, if we are not mortal. There is a far greater danger than that inevitability. It is the horror of a severely circumscribed life - to live, but to have never really lived at all.
Henry David Thoreau told us unequivocally more than 150 years ago: "If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so man."
This assertion in the middle of his essay on "Civil Disobedience," alludes to oppression of every kind: political, economic, familial - social dictates that kill more absolutely than any cardiac arrest.
We fear death by sword, but every single day accept this other death - the one that is not inevitable at all, unless we agree to it. We understand that a plant deprived of the sun or shade, water or none - its proper place in the garden - will die. We are far slower to accept that a woman, a man, deprived of the nurture of her unique needs, of his "nature" - of our place in the garden - will die long before he is buried.
We have a choice. We can fear our inevitable mortality, and expend our lives attempting to avoid it. Or we can ally ourselves with the living and do everything in our power to promote health in the places where people die of oppression. This demands an abandonment, actually, of fear. It takes - when done on behalf of another or when done for the assertion of one's own personal or cultural "nature" - a degree of courage.
I return here to Mr. Thoreau. "Civil Disobedience." These are the small wars that do not require armies. These are the wars where we stand up for a people - any people, all people - who are being choked and smothered and starved (no less than by rope or pillow or lack of food) by restriction on their human and cultural souls.
This is where we make our lives count for something. This is where we live. I've cast my life for my husband's sorely choked, smothered, and starved people - the kanaka maoli, the Native Hawaiians. I ask that our readers find their own place, where a man who, "cannot live according to" his nature, is being killed.