Should we have a Department of Peace?


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.
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.


Filed under Casual conversation, diary, general topics, life, musings, Uncategorized

80 responses to “Should we have a Department of Peace?

  1. Pingback: An OMG Moment! | Atticannie's Blog

  2. kokokrunch

    Hello. I just want to say that ‘Peace’ is a word which describes a situation or a state of affairs. Having a national department dedicated to maintaining that (global) state of affairs is positive, optimistic and idealistic, but is antithetical to the idea of a state itself.

    Assuming that you are referring to global peace, not national peace, it is impossible for one nation alone to take actions that could lead to global peace, because this world is extremely diverse. Secondly, it is also impossible for a nation to not pursue its own political, economic, security interest. Broadly speaking, such actions could generate a lot of dissent and negative side effects.

    So basically, having a goverment funded-department dedicated to world peace might or might not actually result in any positive outcome. Majority of the taxpayers’ money could go down the drain, through pointless misadventures, in the event of bureaucratic inefficiency.

    Rather than setting up a new symbolic department, It is better to reinvigorate the many existing institutions with new attitude and ideas, which could result in the more optimal outcome that you are aiming for. Neither is easy. But this method is slightly less costly and prone to disaster than the first course of action.

    I’m not American and I’m not that well-read, so I feel a bit lame but I hope that’s a point to consider.

  3. I am so tired of the two party system in American Politics. The media completely discredits any other party. These candidates do not stand a chance come election time. It is time for us to join together and take back what is ours.

  4. For a Department of Peace to work, the United States would have to abandon its interventionist foreign policy, which it won’t. Obama would have advocate a strict non-interventionist foreign policy, which he won’t. and the U.S. government would have to change its attitudes in the way it looks at other countries.
    For instance, our involvement Iraq has brought more strife and discontent to that country. By invading and occuping Iraq, we have opened the door to more civil unrest, and future civil wars. When that happens, more troops will be sent in, more American lives will be lost, and our economy will continue to suffer.
    For President Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize I think is a travesty. Not only because he hasn’t even been in office long enough to prove anything, but his approval rating is suffering. The entire campaign we heard “Yes, we can” and “Change we can believe in”. The presidency of Barack Obama has already proven to be the mirror image of George W. Bush. He intends to escalate an unconstitutional and illegal war, and not only that, but he wants to give the Federal Reserve, the group that has caused all the mess that our economy finds itself, more regulatory oversight.
    A ‘Peace Department’ would cause more spending, more inflation, and more harm to our country. For our government to advocate a warmongering foreign policy and a ‘Peace Policy’, is counterproductive.
    As for domesticly, gang violence and other forms of domestic violence have become a terrible part of our society, we have to face that. And it’s because the moral character of this country has gone into the ditch, and no matter how big of government you want to create to curtail it, domestic violence would still continue, and liberty would be lost. Societal discord opens the door for the government to name anything they want; such disciplining your child. The problem isn’t the lack of government, but lack of love. I like what the bible says, “for the love of many will run cold.”

    • atticannie

      Thank you for your reply. It brought to mind the song, “what the world needs now is love sweet love it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of” If you look at the proposed jobs to be handled by the DoP it includes conflict resolution. YOu have to resolve your conflicts before the love can appear.

  5. No need to publish. Just checking to see if my post this AM has been allowed. Thank you.

  6. erinmoxam

    Whether or not you end up getting a department of peace, I think discussing the subject is a great thing. If violence is taught (or absorbed) then peace can be too. Canada is not far away and is similar to the US in many ways, but we do not have the same problems with guns and violence that you have (though god knows, we certainly have our own problems) and I think that is largely because of a cultural difference. Watch an American news broadcast and then watch a Canadian one; the difference is huge and immediate. Awareness is a good step, and I hope it helps.

    • atticannie

      I hope it helps too. I had no idea when I started this topic how many would respond. Over 500 Americans have viewed this blog. If 300 of them would write to the White House it might make a teensy bit of a notice I would hope. I am not anit department of defense. I am pro-reduction of violence. The children dying from child abuse and gangs is increasing exponentially. If the children could learn how to live in peace maybe their parents could too.

  7. Steven Harris

    Orwell was not a prophet and am not sure anyone has claimed him to be one. But he was an excellent social critic, the likes of which modern society seems to lack.

    • atticannie

      The prophet comment was based on the number of comments I’ve received trying to quote Orwell’s works as if just because he said it, it will happen just that way set in stone no questions asked. I think his books serve as a good warning as to what COULD happen but does not HAVE to happen. I’m wondering why Americans have accepted without question the growth of the Department of Defense’s annual budget and are saying we can’t afford to support peace.
      The DoD’s annual budget was roughly $786 billion in 2007.[2] This figure does not include tens of billions more in supplemental expenditures allotted by Congress throughout the year, particularly for the war in Iraq. It also does not include expenditures by the Department of Energy on nuclear weapons design and testing. They are saying that we can’t afford $10 billion for peace…2% of what the DoD was allocated. I’m certain the 2009 figures are much higher.

      • Steven Harris

        Why have Americans accepted without question the growth of the Department of Defense’s annual budget? That’d be the media backed and all pervasive stench of Neo-Con politics stretching back to Nixon (whose advisers included Rumsfeld and Chaney).

      • atticannie

        I have no idea why the DoD budget has been allowed to grow so much. I just know I hear very few protests from anyone who knows what is going on. It has to begin on the inside because the average publis sure does not get much exposure to the national budget.

  8. Bureaucracy is a failure in the Executive Branch of the US. Brining in a new Bureau only in an attempt to nullify the voice of others is a terrible idea. It is up to individual leaders, Congressmen and women, and ambassadors to aim for peace, it shouldn’t be something dished off on a new cabinet position.

    • atticannie

      Bereaucracy is somewhat of a failure in all three branches of our government but at the present time it’s the only system we have so we must work within the system. I would never suggest starting over with a new system. I do not think of the Department of Peace being formed only to nullify the voice of the Department of Defense. I agree that individual Congressmen and women and ambassadors should aim for peace but that’s not happening. In the meantime, the US involvement in wars around the world, violence on on streets, and in the home with spouses and children continue to escalate as we sit back on our hands.

      • If the individuals who hold the most power in our government aren’t working for peace, a department of peace won’t be able to force them. Violence on the street and in the home is definitely an issue, too, but it is one for local police, local government, and society’s medias to deal with, not a department of our Federal Government.

    • The Centers for Disease Control offers a good example of the value of a bureaucracy. If the CDC did not exist, local governments would have to do their own research on epidemics, for example, and develop their own cures. You can easily see that this would be a vastly inefficient approach. Also, some communities would elect to roll the dice and not spend money on this. However, if one of their citizens were to contract a disease and travel outside of the community, they would increase the risk of infecting others.

      The Department of Peace would follow a similar model, researching root causes of violence, identifying best practices and providing local communities with resources to address the epidemic of violence.

  9. I agree with you, but also with the comments regarding the recesion and need to invest carefully.

    The money would not stand for a long period of time and there is a need to think, plan and act for peace. And all these are money consumers. Not easy to develop a sustainable organisation/ department for peace. I would like to have more ideas, but I do not until now.

    • atticannie

      Funding for the Department of Peace is determined during the appropriations process, after the legislation creating the Department is passed. The present bill calls for it to be funded at the equivalent of two percent of the Defense Department’s budget. Using existing budgets, a Department of Peace could be funded for as little as $10 billion annually. We currently spend more than that in one month on our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nonviolent strategies properly applied will help reduce the need for such activities and thus save money. from the website of the
      I stated something in error on one reply. I said it was 10% of the DOD budget. We spend more than that maintaining our prisons.

  10. We already have a “department of peace”. It’s called the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, it’s not a “peaceful” organization. It is an “offensive” organization in every evil sense of the word. It’s main purpose is to kill people in other countries, and throw some of our own people in there for death and maiming as well.

    We as “A People” should strive to have this cabinet office operate in the mode its name indicates, i.e., “in a defensive” mode. This would require recalling ALL of our military people from ALL 130 countries where it is now stationed and station them HERE!

    Don’t look for this to happen any time soon. The current administration, and ALL past administrations have sucked up to (and are) the military-industrial complex. ALL future administrations of the Dumbocrat-Repugnant Political Party will do the same. (Yes, we have one Party rule in this so-called country).

    Want real change? WE THE PEOPLE have to BECOME the government. WE have to vote our own into ALL offices, and in the process,

    Until WE THE PEOPLE do this, our so-called government will continue to be controlled OF, BY & FOR the PRCs (see website). It will remain a government OF, BY & FOR the Dumbocrat-Repugnant Party.

    VTBO! NOW!!!

    • atticannie

      I agree that more of we the people should get involved. I’ve never been one to be too keen on name calling. How are we to know who “our people are?” As far as the military-industrial complex I agree with you that it is in their interest to keep things stirred up. Thanks for responding.

  11. Harold

    There should be only one more department in the federal government. The Department of Bureaucracy Elimination.

    • atticannie

      I totally agree but it is never going to happen. In the meantime there is a call for 21st century methods

      While addressing the federal government’s responsibility to adequately meet our national security needs in today’s world, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a November 2007 speech at Kansas State University, said that “[n]ew institutions are needed for the 21st Century, new organizations with a 21st Century mind-set.” A Department of Peace is part of this new mind-set. from web site.

  12. very interesting blog good

    • atticannie

      Thank you. I never thought I’d get this much response. At least some people who are not aware of The Peace Alliance’s efforts are now.

  13. Cecil

    I think that providing safe, satisfying education environments and decreasing poverty (increasing wealth) would ultimately promote peace effectively. Violence is often caused by ignorance (Education helps that) and poverty/misfortune (Stabilized, efficient economy helps that). The idea of creating yet another government system among many failed ones does not seem to be the immediate solution. Furthermore, violence and gang levels not only should be, but are more effectively handled by state and local involvement where the situation can better be assessed. Promoting/creating bills and programs for your local area/state would be a more effective way to create peace then increasing executive and federal power with a department of peace. And I really liked what the guy up there said with Orwell, words are just words. In his novel 1984, the Ministry of Peace deals with war, Love with torture, Wealth with poverty, and so on. The department of defense used to be called the department of war as well. Overall, I would say no to a department of peace.

    • atticannie

      Orwell is getting a lot of press out of these blogs. Since he so adequately informed us of the pitfalls, do we have to make him into a prophet? I agree with what you say. If you go to The Peace Alliance website you will see more of its aims for the D O P.

  14. Thanks for posting this entry Annie! I have written my thoughts after being inspired by your post on our blog today.

    Thanks again!

  15. Pingback: A Revolutionary Shift! « From Middle Class to Millionaire

  16. atticannie

    I need to tell you that I neither support and defend or oppose or attack our president. I have tried to stay neutral. I try to give new people in office time to act. He is carrying a big load with the health care, unemployment, recession, mortgage, etc. in addition to the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has only been in office 20% of his four year elected term. That being said, at least he is taking time to decide the best course of action at this point and is not listening and acting immediately to those voices who are yelling that we need to escalate. He is trying to gather as many facts as necessary. I would like an answer to my question. Do you think he personally is keeping things stirred up just to keep arament manufacturers happy?

    • My answer is the same. So far he has not given any indication that he will have a different attitude than his predecessors towards the armament lobby — and that means keeping them happy.

  17. All we need is another big government bureaucracy. Regardless of what it does, it costs us money that many of us do not have. Republicans and Democrats love to create jobs for themselves and their friends. We need tax cuts, not a department of peace. Not to mention, we already have agencies that can work towards peace (i.e. Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, local police). As long as people desire power, there will be no peace. There’s always a new kid on the block that wants to rise to the top. Historically, this always happens through war and acquisition. Sad but true.

    • atticannie

      I respectfully disagree that the organizations that you mentioned can work for peace. Homeland Security was formed to protect the citizens from terrorists. That keeps us more safe but does not increase the peace. The FBI and CIA also work AGAINST the bad guys but not FOR any peaceful solutions. I guess in a way you could say capturing criminals and twarting terrorist attacks helps keep the peace but that doesn’t address all the other forms of violence in the US. As for the police, many of them have started gang and drug initiatives only to have them deep sixed due to budget restraints. Their hands are often too tied to do anything FOR the peace. Just because something is history, I do not believe it always has to continue. There are, thank goodness, paradigm shifts that can and do occur.

      • I agree on the paradigm shifts. The human spirit drives people to rebel from time to time when oppression pursues Not sure that it is always peaceful though. Most of them end in “Revolution”. We just about saw one in Iran a few months back.
        However, your right about the organizations though, it was meant to be sarcastic.
        Great discussion!

      • atticannie

        I’m enjoying these discussions. The sad part of dialoging via the written word vs the spoken word is that I can hear sarcasm in voices. I’m not as good when it comes to reading it. My first thought when I saw your list was , “Huh? He’s got to be kidding.” Yes, shifts do often end in revolution, a word I saw on signs several times during the height of the health care debates. Revolution is something that can be avoided by lowering the temperature on violence, thus increasing the peace.

  18. atticannie

    That’s a powerful statement. I do feel that there is tremendous pressure from the military-industrial complex to keep things stirred up in order to stay in business. I’ve thought that for a long time. However, do you feel Obama is keeping things stirred up to keep arament manufacturers happy? That’s a big leap.

  19. Not a bad idea. President Obama is the right person to head the Department of Peace. He is, like his predecessors, trying to keep peace in the US by keeping it disturbed in the poor, Third World countries.

    • atticannie

      I’m not certain I understand your comment. Please tell me more about what you mean. How can peace be kept in the US by keeping the peace disturbed elsewhere?

  20. The department of war is there to be prepared in case war happens. Would the department of peace be there in case peace happens?

    • atticannie

      Interesting thought. Sometimes I think the department of war aka defense is there to initiate war to further the interests of particular individuals within our boundaries. I would like to think a department of peace would be there to initiate ways of peace in the interest of all citizens. Soemtimes the ways of peace become violent. That would satisfy both the warriors and the wusses don’t you think? Everybody would then be happy.

    • We have the tools to identify the conditions that will lead to violent conflict if the conditions are not addressed. If we watch for situations where women are not involved in the political process, people do not have access to markets, and areas with high infant mortality, for example, the Department of Peace could send in teams and resources that would address those root causes before violence erupts.

      Yes, it will cost money. But the long run benefit would be to maintain peace without having to send in the costly military and deal with reconstruction and the inevitable and tragic loss of life resulting from violence.

      • atticannie

        Thank you. I totally agree. I am trying to look at the long run from other than a military point of view. I feel it is time to support a humanitarian effort. Some schools use conflict resolution very effectively. It takes longer to handle than a paddle but it has better consequences in the long run.

    • “Would the department of peace be there in case peace happens?”

      That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

      I think the reply would be that it would be there to insure that peace keeps “breaking out”.

      Unfortunately, I look at those “pages of history” I wrote of before, and I find very few significant stretches of time where there wasn’t a war somewhere in Europe.

      Consider: The 100-Years War, for starters.

      I forgot to add to my last comment:

      It’s worth praying for.

  21. Chris

    I wholeheartedly agree with peace, but I feel Tolstoy made a point when he wrote that government is the antithesis of peace. If they ever gave such a notion consideration it would be “a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds” (King).

    Again, coming from a Tolstoyian point of view (because that’s what I’m reading right now), if you consider Christianity as nothing more than Jesus’ teachings, Christianity in that sense is peace. It’s from this base that Tolstoy goes on to boldly say that Christianity (peace) destroys government. Here’s an excerpt from “The Kingdom of God is Within You”:

    “Still there are people who believe in this, busy themselves over peace congresses, read addresses, and write books. And governments, we may be quite sure, express their sympathy and make a show of encouraging them. In the same way they pretend to support temperance societies, while they are living principally on the drunkenness of the people; and pretend to encourage education, when their whole strength is based on ignorance; and to support constitutional freedom, when their strength rests on the absence of freedom; and to be anxious for the improvement of the condition of the working classes, when their very existence depends on their oppression; and to support Christianity, when Christianity destroys all government.”

    • atticannie

      Very interesting thoughts. Jesus got himself into hot water when he took on the government of the “church”. I realize that government might not be the answer but in order to find the answer someone must first start asking the right questions.

  22. I’m afraid that Dennis Kucinich’s grand vision for a “Department of Peace” will never come to light.

    First off, Kucinich is not exactly the brightest bulb in Congress.

    The Department of Defense used to be called the Department of War, which is what it really was then and is now.

    The pages of history are littered with the bodies of countries and nations who were conquered by their stronger neighbors.

    We can only have peace internationally if we are strong enough to deter anyone from attacking us.

    We can only have peace nationally (“… effectively reduce the levels of domestic and gang violence …”) when we have a just and effective police force, and we somehow manage to turn around 5o or so years of liberal influence on our schools, on our family, and our religion.

    When children are brought up being taught that some things are wrong, and others right – and those values are taken from 10,000 years of lessons of history – then we’ll be back on track.

    But we have a long way before we get back there.

    I’m sure we would “give peace a chance”, if only the other side – the side that happily bombs children, crowded buses, and busy markets, and joyfully kills people for not believing as they do – would do the same.

    “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.”

    I think I understand what you’re saying in that part of the post. If you helped even 1 or 2 kids, then you’re way ahead of the rest of us (speaking for myself, of course). But I believe you did better than that.

    We can make a difference, one person at a time, by affecting those we’re able to affect.

    But it’s pointless to spend our energy in fruitless abstracts like “Departments of Peace”. I do thank you for the Benjamin Rush reference. I’ll follow up on that one.

    But I cannot resist quoting part of his “A PLAN OF A PEACE-OFFICE FOR THE UNITED STATES”:

    “.. Let a Secretary of the Peace be appointed to preside in this office, who shall be perfectly free from all the present absurd and vulgar European prejudices upon the subject of government; let him be a genuine republican and a sincere Christian, for the principles of republicanism and Christianity are no less friendly to universal and perpetual peace, than they are to universal and equal liberty.”

    I feel certain that you agree heartily with the “Christianity” part (as I do), and would hope that you consider also the “republican” part – which I render as “Republican”.

    As I read the rest of Rush’s proposal, I find that Kucinich must surely be his reincarnation. (If there were such a thing.)

    I hope you will consider that while governments may institute high-sounding Departments, it is only too soon after that those Departments transform into entities whose only purpose is to further their own aims, and not necessarily those of the People.

    Look at the Department of Education. I would be hard-pressed to find any good that came out of that idea. Our schools still fail 50% of their students in some parts of the country, and those that do graduate are practically illiterate.

    That’s what happens when you put a Department in charge of something.

    • atticannie

      Very well thought out comment. I agree with much of what you said about people furthering their own aims. But to me, it is worth a try to start somewhere.

    • E. Michael Martin

      Ugh, are you really blaming the liberals for gangs? How is conservative propaganda any better than liberal propaganda? It isn’t. And those “good old days” before liberals allegedly took over the education system never existed. 50 years ago, kids learned less, fewer went to college, and African-Americans and Latin-Americans were completely ignored by society. This nation still has prejudices against Latinos, and often assumes they are here illegally. Well, that’s not new. Irish and Italian immigrants were despised before that, and Native Americans before that.

      If you want a puritanical society, create one, but leave me out of it.

      Oh, and the Department of Education is ailing under some of the worst laws and practices ever devised. Who devised them? Republicans. The most recent example? No Child Left Behind, obviously.

      • atticannie

        Hi Michael, I don’t remember approving this comment but I’m happy to respond. I’m not certain to what you are referring when you ask if I am blaming the liberals for gangs. I don’t know what I said to make you come to that conclusion. Gangs have been around forever (think Gangs of New York for instance and the Boston Tea Party) through both liberal and conservative government. The Department of Education is in many ways hamstrung by existing legislation. It was not allowed to do much under the previous administration. I wholeheartedly agree with there were no “good old days.” I totally agree that too many segments of our society were totally ignored. I do not wish a puritanical society. I wish a civil society. One in which everyone would use respect, courtesy, and good manners in their dealings with others. I think that is little enough to ask. The vulgarity, lack of control, violence, etc. is leading us into decline as a respected nation very quickly.

      • “… the Department of Education is ailing under some of the worst laws and practices ever devised. Who devised them? Republicans. The most recent example? No Child Left Behind, obviously.”

        Reagan tried to abolish it, but the Democrat-controlled Congress wouldn’t hear of it.

        And it was created by Jimmy Carter. I certainly won’t excuse the mess both parties made of it. As I said, creating Departments is like plating kudzu. (If you’re from the South you’ll understand.)

        atticannie: “But to me, it is worth a try to start somewhere.”

        I agree with that. I think our disagreement is about how to go about it.

  23. rick

    Why not call it the Ministry of Peace?

  24. jin

    I think this idea is backwards – I see no reason to believe that the best way to promote peace is by funding money at the top, expecting that it will somehow “trickle down”.

    Even if the govt did care, just what do you expect they will do?

    Wherever you find problematic levels of violence – whether it’s school bullying, child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, violence against minorities, or street crime – what you have is a toxic environment, one where – if I may borrow the metaphor – “weeds” are overgrowing the garden. Organic gardeners know the real solution is to feed the soil and make the growing environment rich and healthy.

    Bullies don’t thrive in communities where respect is cultivated. Bullies flourish where there are weak, vulnerable, easily isolated people. The real-world cure for a single bullied child: help him find a friend. Kids with even one good friend are much less likely to be bullied.

    In every school where bullying is a problem, you’ll find the lack of respect starts between the teachers and the parents, the liberals and the conservatives, the rich parents and the ones in the cheap housing. The parents demanding more expensive services for their kids are often just as guilty of fostering a toxic environment as those who get angry at such requests (or demands).

    Families struggling with abuse would *love* some help. The problem is, too often “help” it starts from the principle that the “helper’s” feelings and moral principles – outrage, a desire to judge and punish, a desire to see a “bad” family broken up. The “scientifically justified” feelings of the helper matter more than what that (evil) man or (stupid) woman THINK they want or need. The people being helped get no say, and the experience of being “helped” feels like the violation it in fact is.

    Real help starts with earning trust – which requires actually treating abuse victims with respect, as human beings with agency, who are entitled to their feelings and entitled to a say in their own life choices. There is something perversely ironic about labeling someone as pathological, stripping them of dignity and calling it a cure for “low self esteem”.

    What do you honestly expect the govt – or its “dept. of peace” – to do about any of that?

    • atticannie

      I agree it is best to start from the bottom up. However, it has only been recently that police would even interfere in a domestic dispute. It’s not working at the bottom. The hands of teachers have been tied for years. Like I mentioned, I don’t know the answers but I feel we should at least start talking about it.

  25. I say his “rediculous award” money will go into his poersonnal bank account….I hope i am wrong, But I DOUBT IT!

    • atticannie

      R I D I C U L O U S …He has already said he will donate the money to charity. We are just suggesting a possible recipient.

  26. M.

    I think before a United States Department of Peace is formed, we should find out how much this is going to cost. After all, we do have a $12 trillion dollar budget deficit, projected to go even higher. As nice as its sounds, it is hardly practical. It will cost much more than President Obama’s $1.4 million dollar prize. I vote NO!

    • atticannie

      I believe I heard or read that the suggestion was that the department of peace operate on 2% of the budget of the D O D.

      • Funding for the legislation is $10 billion per year – check out H.R. 808 at This is a small fraction of the $300 billion the CDC estimates that violence in the U.S. is costing us each year. Add to that the cost of foreign wars, and you should be able to see the return on investment possible in peacebuilding through a Department of Peace.

        Yes, $10 billion is still a lot of money, especially in the current economy. But if we can reduce the cost of prisons, law enforcement, social services, etc., we will save money and have a more just society in the long haul.

      • atticannie

        Thank you for the economics of the situation. I haven’t had time to look that information up. It seems there are a number of people responding who look only at their immediate pocketbooks or all so aggression oriented they can see no need for peaceful solutions. The number of inmates in our prisons are staggering! “The total population of prisons and jails in the United States neared the 2.1 million mark in June 2003, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), indicating the largest increase from year to year in four years.” That statistic is six years old. Yet too many would just rather “lock ’em up” than try to prevent them getting there in the first place.

  27. Pingback: Department of Peace « Internet Scofflaw

  28. Ricky Rondo

    Very interesting blog. I disagree with what you said and wrote it up at my blog. But still, good stuff

  29. Pingback: No, We Shouldn’t Have a Department of Peace « We Dare Defend Our Rights

  30. Congratulation for Mr.President Barack Obama !

  31. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Annie. How many more tragedies like having the teen set on fire in Florida because he owed someone $40 do we have to witness before the citizenry gets that we have a big problem here? The Department of Peace is and idea whose time has come. President Obama can make a quantum leap in helping steer our society toward peace by championing DOP legislation.

    • atticannie

      Some of what has been needed has already been done, like the hate crimes legislation. If all this could be accomplished on the local level with parents taking back their role as just and fair parents we would not need a DOP. However, with all the permissiveness that has been going on, the overindulged children are now the parents and don’t have a clue as to how to raise children who show respect. We are continuing with the ME generation. I fear we are in for a rough ride a while longer.

  32. E. Michael Martin

    Creating any more government agencies is a bad idea… especially one called “The Department of Peace”. A ridiculous notion. The best way to gain peace is through dedication to open market strategies and creating more trade. The less the government has its hands in, the more able people will be to provide for themselves. I’m not saying to get rid of the police, I’m just suggesting that the Government hasn’t done a great job with the agencies they already have, so why create another one?

    • atticannie

      I agee that open market strategies may work on a global level, but the idea of the D O P would be to help stem the flood of spousal abuse, child abuse, gang violence etc. on a local level as well.

      • E. Michael Martin

        No, it really wouldn’t. Education is what decreases that, and education is made available when wealth is available.

      • atticannie

        Again I am lost as to your reference. What is the “it” that “really wouldn’t”? What does education decrease?

    • One reason government has not done a better job is that the budgets of many departments were eviscerated under Bush.
      Why aren’t you saying got rid of the police?
      We got rid of government regulation of the financial system and the market almost destroyed the planet.
      “Free market” has a nice sound, but it isn’t like free groceries at the supermarket. It’s more like toxic waste in our streams, national parks being given to political donors so they can charge admission. It supports violence in Iraq and global warming.
      A Department of Peace would at least introduce the word into the government lexicon.

      • atticannie

        Mike, I would NEVER say “Get rid of the police”. I feel much safer knowing the sheriff patrols our little village. Yes, I KNOW that there are frequent episodes when police get out of hand and excessively violent but that should be dealt with swiftly on an individual basis. I have known many police officers in my life who would give their lives in a second. The police are needed but I think it would help if they received much more training in anger management and conflict resolution. Many of them are HE-MEN and I guess SHE-WOMEN who think handling the public should be done in as tough a way as possible. They go a little amok when their adrenaline starts forming. I dream of the day that the police will be able to have crowd control without any violence. The Tacoma protest could (from what I have seen on You Tube) been handled without the rubber bullets and the tear gas. You have expressed some good thoughts.

  33. You’ ve got a point.

  34. SallyK

    It all comes down to the value of human life. Where human life is cheap, violence abounds. North Coast Muse @

  35. Steven Harris

    Orwell knew that words are just words. You can call a department the Department of Peace (in 1984 he called it ‘Minipax’) but that does not mean it will be dedicated to the promotion of peaceful solutions to world problems. Politicians put out fires they often started themselves.