Daily Archives: October 16, 2009

Should we have a Department of Peace?

bannerpeacealliance

Good morning. I am so fortunate to have friends who think they are just emailing me a little “bit” to read when actually they are feeding me a topic for a blog.  Come on up to my attic. Let’s talk.

This morning I received a “thought” from someone who suggested we write to President Obama asking him to donate the winnings from his Nobel Peace Prize to The Peace Alliance which is organizing to support the development of a Department of Peace within our national government.

You can see all the information here.

The following is from their website.



Participate in an historic citizen lobbying effort to create a U.S. Department of Peace. There is currently a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 808). This landmark measure will augment our current problem-solving options, providing practical, nonviolent solutions to the problems of domestic and international conflict.

Domestically, the Department of Peace will develop policies and allocate resources to effectively reduce the levels of domestic and gang violence, child abuse, and various other forms of societal discord. Internationally, the Department will advise the President and Congress on the most sophisticated ideas and techniques regarding peace-creation among nations.

This group of people have started a grassroots movement once again to actively involve our nation in problem solving on not only an international level, but a national, state, and local level. In addition, they want to implement problem solving methods  as well to stem the level of violence and conflict in our society. One only has to look back a couple of weeks  to read about the killing of an honor student unknown to gang assailants in Chicago, an attempted car bombing in Dallasviolence caused by medications such as antidepressants, and the list goes on.

When are we as a nation going to wake up to the fact that we are an uber violent nation? I have no idea what has to transpire for a trait to enter the marrow of our very being to  the place where “it is in our genes”, but I think we are there. We have brought with us from other countries centuries of the most negative traits of the kill and conquer mentality of our ancestors and incestuously bred ourselves into a nation of slaughterers without a second thought.

Our church at the end of each service says “The Prayer for Protection” aloud. That is the only thing these days that gives me the courage to stop anywhere in my hometown alone after dark.

The Prayer For Protection

The Light of God surrounds me.
The Love of God enfolds me.
The Power of God protects me.
The Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am God is, and all is well.
The longer version of this poem includes these thoughts.
The Mind of God guides me.
The Life of God flows through me.
The Laws of God direct me.
The Power of God abides within me.
The Joy of God uplifts me.
The Strength of God renews me.
The Beauty of God inspires me.
Wherever I am, God is!
Sometimes it is not always at night that I say this poem, like when I’m in the parking lot of WalMart or some business takes me through some of our less safe neighborhoods. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be at night and can be in an upper class neighborhood when violence occurs. The kidnapping and subsequent killing of a TCU professor in a Tom Thumb parking lot in broad daylight attests to that.  Saying the prayer and taking a deep breath helps me feel safe.
Do you feel safe? In America today, we have to convince ourselves that we live in safe communities just to get through the day. Not everyone has that luxury. When I taught, I remember one of my students who said he did his homework in the closet every night as protection against drive-by shootings. Another student was in the front yard when his father, who was standing on the porch, was gunned down in front of him. We hear these reports these days and just shrug our shoulders with an “Oh well….” sigh.
If you think the idea  of a peace department is new in America, you are off by about 200 years. The concept of a Peace Office was introduced by Benjamin Rush, one of our founding fathers as a balance to the Department of War. One article on the History of Peace termed him a “gadfly” : some one who annoys, especially by persistent criticism. He earned that moniker by daring to criticize those who wanted to think only of war.
Two years ago the small “Peace Club” in Fairmont, MN persuaded their city council to pass a resolution to endorse the establishment of the Department of Peace. So much turmoil erupted when they did that, that the council rescinded the endorsement. The same old warriors came out stating that our enemies would think we are a nation of wusses.  If you watch the video below of the students trying to protest strykers being sent to Iraq in Tacoma two years ago, it took something far braver and stronger than a wuss to stand up and speak out.
Of course wuss has synonyms:
wuss – a person who is physically weak and ineffectual

namby-pamby – an insipid weakling who is foolishly sentimental
softie, softy – a person who is weak and excessively sentimental
crybaby, wimp, chicken – a person who lacks confidence, is irresolute and wishy-washy
And before the days of political correctness, there was always girly-girl.
Heaven forbid we become a nation like that! Or so the thought goes among the HE-MEN, BIKERS, WRESTLERS, MERCENARIES, COWBOYS, TRUCK DRIVERS, FOOTBALL PLAYERS,  STEEL WORKERS, (if there are any more left in the US) etc. REAL men don’t want a Department of Peace. In the interest of gender neutrality maybe some REAL women don’t either.
Real men get turned on with violent movies, TV shows, video games, starting before they are even out of grade school. We start them young in the PeeWee Leagues. They hear their proud parents shout, “kill ’em, knock ’em down, crush ’em, anihiilate ’em, trounce ’em, ” etc. These are kids six years out of diapers! No wonder violence starts so early. Then we turn around and want to send a six year old to forty five days in a reform school because we are afraid of what he would do with a camping utensil he didn’t know he shouldn’t bring to school to eat his lunch! Are we psychotic or what!?!
Bringing the topic our violence down to the level of our children ought to wake some of us up. It only escalates from the school, to the community, to the state, to the nation, to the world.
The number of people who wish to ask our nation to give peace a chance is miniscule compared to the number who wish for the bloated Department of Defense to keep growing…the department laughingly labeled , “The Peace Makers”. But that could change. Where are the thousands of war protesters who stood up for the end of the Viet Nam War in the 1970s?
I don’t have any of the answers. Before I retired, I put in my time trying to help the damaged kids at the local level, many of whom will or did not escape the entrapment of the gangs. I will probably never know if I did or said anything that helped. But what might happen if everybody thought of the future of our nation? What if people thought about and did something about the future of our children?
I tried to download John Lennon’s full version of “Give Peace a Chance” but embedding is denied.  You can view it here and watch the thousands of people wave after wave marching for peace. Grandparents, you were there. Remember your ardor, you desire for peace! Pass that on to your grandchildren or by now great grandchildren.
In the meantime, watch the video of a peace demonstration in Tacoma and see all the “wusses” there. This was two years ago.
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I urge you to write today to President Obama and ask him to donate his winnings to the formation of the US Department of Peace. The amount is huge to the grassrooters. It might be the symbolic gesture needed to get serious about reaching this goal two hundred years later. All we are saying, is give peace a chance.
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