Department of Peace and Nonviolence
On Wednesday, Dennis Kucinich and 57 (now 59) cosponsors introduced H.R. 3760, a bill to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. This legislation will raise prevention of domestic and international conflict, and working for nonviolent resolutions to conflict when it arises, to the same or higher level of governmental priority as violent or repressive responses.
The department will work proactively with every branch of the Federal Government. It will draw upon the intellectual and spiritual wealth of organizations and individuals who are already developing and employing nonviolent approaches and practices which resolve conflicts and advance the human condition.
Among its many domestic and educational responsibilities, the department will develop policies and create programs that promote peace in America by implementing field-tested strategies that reduce and prevent violent crime, and teach tolerance and peacemaking skills. The department will serve as an ethical guide and checkpoint for Federal law and national domestic programs administered by all agencies of the Federal Government. Some areas of domestic and educational focus include:
- Peace in our homes: prevention of spousal abuse, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly;
- Peace in our schools: prevention of youth and gang violence;
- Peace in our streets: prevention of racial and ethnic violence and violence against gays and lesbians, reducing the causes of violent responses by police, and work on criminal justice reform;
- Peace in the media: studying the role of the media in the escalation and de-escalation of domestic and international conflict; and
- Peace in our hearts: fostering a culture of peace by actively injecting consideration of peace and nonviolence into civic life.
Internationally, more than 100,000,000 people - over one hundred million - perished in war in the 20th Century, most of them civilian non-combatants, women and children. In its international component the bill seeks not to dismantle the military, but rather to add a voice at the President's table alongside the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense whose job it is to introduce non-violent strategic alternatives. Among other charges, the Secretary of Peace will advise on all matters relating to national security and the role of the U.S. in the world including:
Prevention, amelioration and de-escalation of armed and unarmed international conflict;
- Training of U.S. personnel involved in post-conflict reconstruction and demobilization in areas ravaged by war;
- Training and support of civilian peacekeepers;
- Protection of human rights;
- Proactive development of programs to advance international understanding and address nonviolently the root causes of conflict; and
- Analysis of the impact of arms sales from the U.S. on homeland and international security.
It has been suggested that our species stands at an evolutionary fork in the road. As a culture we can stay on a path which tends to respond to conflict with violence - wasting lives and destroying families, communities and countries - or we can actively choose another course. We can choose a course of actively lifting the American response to conflict at home and abroad to a level informed by the higher truths of compassion, respect, honor and integrity - which we recite, but need to practice better as a nation. One way leads toward darkness, fear and death, and the other toward light, hope and life.
This legislation, and the discussion among citizens and lawmakers that will ensue, come from that hope - and represent the germ of a new course for the human race. This bill will create a federal government structure to focus, communicate and leverage the dreams, ideas and toils of those who see a better way, a future marked by peaceful co-existence and a new era of working together. Let us draw from within every man, woman and child to build a future of peace and true security.
Contact your Member of Congress and tell them to support H.R. 3760, the bill to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence - and if they don't, demand to know why. And while you're on a roll, call Representative Dennis Kucinich
and think him for actually remembering he works for the people of this country and not a corporation.