Bob wrote this poem as a response after 9/11. It was published on September 29, 2001 in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. This was also shared on several websites and from at least one pulpit, we heard. It’s long, but well-worth to read to the end.
Fight Terrorism With Relentless Doses of Hope and Compassion
by Robert Alberti
Let us deploy our troops. Let our diplomats seek broad international agreement. Let our soldiers advance first, to clear the field of violence.
Then let us unleash our most powerful weapons!
Let us lay down roads where none have ever been. Let us dig wells of clean water where people can safely drink. Let our armies build hospitals and schools. Let our warriors teach hygiene and mathematics. Let our doctors inoculate against disease, and our soldiers battle malnutrition. Let us scour the Earth clean of terrorism through the merciless application of knowledge, compassion, hope and tolerance.
Terrorism is the weapon of the desperate and hopeless, the brutally blinded, and the deliberately blind. And we can defeat terrorism. We, America, have the power to do so if we are not ourselves blinded by vengeance, anger and fear: We hold the light of Liberty.
So let us unleash our weapons of mass construction, even as we deploy our gunships and missiles to defend our endeavors. Let us carry the battle into the tent-cities of the Palestinians and the arid crags of Afghanistan, the doctor and the engineer shoulder to shoulder with the U.N. peacekeeper and the U.S. soldier.
Let us hurl homes at homelessness, unleash law upon lawlessness, and let justice roll down like a mighty river and wash away the unjust.
We have an opportunity, now laid so grievously before us, to start and win a war with our most powerful and uniquely American weapons: love, opportunity, education and hope.
England and Israel teach us that the battle against terrorism will take decades. Let the next generation all over the world say to the terrorist recruiters, “Why would we want to harm America, who inoculates our children, houses our poor, champions justice and feeds our hungry?” Only then shall we have defeated terrorism. So let us arm our soldiers and mourn our dead, and take up both the pen as well as the sword.
Let us fix a steel-eyed gaze on the true costs and the real efforts involved, let us gird ourselves against our inevitable losses and unavoidable setbacks. Let us join with all people in all nations who worship in truth and love, and let us set forth on this, the true, final World War.
Let us incessantly, relentlessly wage Peace.