I have a bumper sticker on the back of my car: "Arms are for hugging" and I'm stopped often by the police asking me what it means! We must get back to the truth of words and what it is we are saying and writing and the power we are putting out into the world/air with our choice of words. As Arundhati Roy says "We need a globalization of compassion." We need to start a worldwide campaign to disarm our tongues and our hearts — to erase violence, hatred, war-like, destructive, and aggressive language and expression in our ways of relating to one another, personally and in public discourse. We need a moratorium on certain words and the actions they set in motion.

Start with a list of words and phrases that we could just as easily give up saying: hate, weapons of mass destruction, warfare, enemy, kill, shut up, bomb, landmine, new nuclear weapons, murder, defensive tactics, pre-emptive, defense spending, attack, evil, unpatriotic, alien, any ethnic or racial or religious slur to describe a person/group of people, strikes, torture, abuse, and the use of any adjective or adverb that transforms a word into its exact opposite (just war, bomb them into peace).

Then pick up a new set of words to use in conversation and writing: compassion, human beings, beloved earth, good, tenderness, regard, reverence, blessing, hope, secure, sanctuary, forgive, can, home, respect, marvelous differences that fill up what is lacking in us, reconcile, merge, patience, dialogue, mercy, enough, free, down to the seventh generation, our children and our children's children, their/ours together, wouldn't it be wonderful? see, it can be done, nothing is impossible with God (anyone's God) for the future of life, living, breathing, growing, welcome, love (meaning I will the good of others, all others), peace be with you, God bless us all. There is no "them," it is only "us, our" together.

It is time to drop from our vocabulary and our arms and our hearts whatever will destroy another, and so in the end, destroy us all on this one floating, vulnerable, gorgeous, and aching earth. May we become a people who will be remembered for a new language that was based on mercy, sharing, restoring, healing, life-giving rebuilding, no death, no dis-ease, only imagining and creating a whole world without violence, only peace-making as a way of life.

Megan McKenna in Email Correspondence on 1st Anniversary of 9/11