I find that, unlike Gandhi, I cannot fully embrace total non-violence. For instance, Gandhi opposed the use of force even against Hitler! Even in self-defense! I don't say he was wrong, just that I cannot take the doctrine that far myself.
Non-violence, however, is more than just not using force. It is a commitment to a way of life, a way of life that rejects the normal injustice, discrimination, and brute use of power by governments, in relationships, and between people in every day encounters.
For Gandhi, we must stop responding to each other in hostile terms, stop thinking of each other as separate and opposed. Non-violence is really about our connections with each other, the unity of the human family, and the rejection of hostility and power struggles as part of our relationships to one another.
It is this rejection of hostility and distrust and its replacement by cooperation, love, and peace that we remember when we remember Mr. Gandhi. In the current political climate, where extremists shout out fears of government take overs and communism, where tea-baggers bring automatic weapons to political rallies, and where disagreements on policy are primarily expressed by ranting and raving and bullying your opponents ... we would do well to reflect on the example of Gandhi