I always find it crazy how some of those that fight for justice on global issues seem to get it wrong on things that are local to where they live. It is easy to fight against some far away injustice like the Iraq War, Darfur, or some human rights abuses in Myanmar. It's easy to rail against concepts like globalization, Empire, and climate change. But, what is harder is fighting the injustice of not loving your neighbor.
I love this quote from Kit Hodge from the site Neighbors Project; Kit introduces a conference her organization has been invited with the title: Foreign Policy on Your Block
Does the idea of pre-emptive force make you shake your fist? But do you blast your music late at night knowing full well that it pisses off your neighbors? Do you believe that thoughtful foreign diplomacy that aims to prevent war? But do you avoid your neighbors at all costs and complain directly to the landlord/condo board/police about them whenever they bother you? Do you want the U.S. to actually participate in the Kyoto Accord? But do you avoid invitations to join your block's clean and green team?
My belabored point is the old cliche, "think globally, act locally." It's great -- perhaps imperative -- to have an informed opinion about what's going on around the world. But it's also easy to be a hypocrite, complaining about a country's refusal to try diplomacy before war, while we default to calling the police on our neighbors for small irritations. Foreign policy isn't usually about altruism; it's a practical tool to ensure that the world is livable. Same with neighbor policy.
This is a long preamble to us plugging Worldview's Global Activism Expo in Chicago.
Let us practice foreign policy where we find ourselves and love our neighbors as we would love others across this world.