COLUMN: Inspiration reverberates throughout the world as America steps up to its promise of equal opportunity for all, a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, a bridging of nations, a bridging of races. Where can inspiration take us? To Peace on Earth? In our lifetime? Why not? In the early 1600’s a small group of inspired individuals defied the King of England and set out on a course to create a civil society based on freedom of conscience. These “Separatists” became the Mayflower Pilgrims, who drafted the “Mayflower Compact” on November 11, 1620 in the cabin of that tiny ship before landing in Cape Cod.

“This day before we come to harbor, observing that some were not well affected to unity and concord but gave appearance of faction, it was thought good that there should be an association and agreement, so that we should combine together in one body and submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose. We therefore set our hands to this that follows word for word.” — Mourt’s Relation

author Connie Baxter MarlowIn March of 1621 two inspired leaders sat down on the edge of a wilderness and drafted a treaty of peace and friendship that was to last throughout their lifetimes. The Massasoit Ousa Mequin of the Pokanoket Wampanoags and Pilgrim governor William Bradford proceeded to lead a unique melding of cultures that was to become the underlying model for the evolution of a great nation, honoring the principles in the Mayflower Compact and creating a society in Plymouth where blacks, Indians and women had freedoms remarkable for their times.

The 1621 fall three-day celebration of thanks in which Pilgrim and Wampanoag families gathered together to share food and games has inspired Americans and the world to gather to honor family and the gifts of abundance in our Thanksgiving holiday. On Thanksgiving Day 2008 families and friends will again open their hearts and give thanks, perhaps more so than ever before.

In 1776 an inspired Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence articulating principles of universal truth that were to signal the world of possibility, of the human potential. It was signed by courageous individuals who dared to dream, and act on that dream.

In 1787 The Constitutional Convention adopted the United States Constitution , again a melding of cultures with the principles of the Mayflower Compact combined with those found in The Great Law of the Iroquois, bringing autonomous states together in federation to serve the common good.

In 1863 an inspired Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, granting the freedoms that are everyone’s birthright and setting the stage for the breakthrough election on November 4, 2008.

During the school year 2007- 2008, ten Sedona, Arizona middle school students, inspired by the model of 50 years of peace and friendship between the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians in Plymouth, put the principles to work to bridge cultural differences in their school. They created a DVD of their experiences and in May traveled to Boston and Plymouth where they issued a challenge to The Massachusetts Historical Society, the Plymouth Board of Selectmen, the leaders of America and all Americans:

Peaceful Coexistence
DVD Narration: Written by Alex Bindrim, age 14. West Sedona Middle School:

    Fifty years of peace between cultures, unseen and unrivaled anywhere in the confines of history. Not a shaky peace either, but a full-fledged symbiotic relationship surrounding Plymouth Plantation that for some reason history chooses to ignore. This speaks, of course, about the fifty years of peace between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans, during which two completely alien cultures resolved to set aside their differences and work together for common good.

    What was it that created these unique circumstances: mutual trust? Visionary leadership? Religious beliefs? All of these? A better question may be; does it matter? A lesson is here, that different cultures can get along for relatively long periods of time.

    There is fundamental common ground between all men, women, and children on this Earth, and even if we know this in our hearts, we must learn it in our minds. The implications of this revelation, this understanding, have remarkable potential. Yet for some reason, we all have chosen to take the message for granted, as if we as a species already understand, and the lesson has already been applied. Has it? This documentary will dare to analyze the world today, using the newest generation as a prime example, and put forth the answer to that all- important question.

    To demonstrate the practicality of the lessons of the first fifty years, we have brought together adolescents of different cliques, castes, and races, to finally do what should be done and promote understanding, peace, and cooperation. They have come to a family picnic, bringing their trademark dishes, skills, and stories. You will see many deliberate exchanges of information, skill, sharing of culture and lifestyles, reminiscent of Pilgrim and Wampanoag interaction, among what society imagines are the most vicious, intolerant people of all; the common teenager.

    What you will see in our film proves a point – saying that the lessons of the first fifty years can be applied to the tragedies of our Earth today- intolerance and separatism. If adolescents have managed to overcome their differences, even in the harsh, divisive world they live in; why can adults not do the same? What the fifty years of peaceful coexistence shows is that, indeed, they can. Yet of all the great lessons, stories, and morals that this example has set down, we choose only to take the one that fills our stomach (a mere holiday). So much more should be done. When this program ends, and you turn away from the screen, will your undertaking be one of forgetfulness, or will you choose to take this video at face value and set out to change the world as the Pilgrims and Wampanoags did long ago?

It will be through the inspiration of individuals on a large-scale basis that world change will occur. Definition: in-spi-ra-tionan inspiring or animating action or influence; a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.

This Thanksgiving may we each listen to that divine influence as it speaks through our hearts and may we each have the courage to act upon our inner promptings and through this inspiration bring humanity to its highest potential as loving beings, inspired by those who have brought us to this time in the evolutionary upward spiral leading to Peace on Earth.

[tags]author Connie Baxter Marlow, Uplifting Ideas eNewsChannels column, holistic articles, history of Thanksgiving, Pilgrim and Wampanoag families[/tags]