"A Decade After Waging a War Based on Lies, We Must Create a Culture of Peace"
Great piece from Dennis Kucinich:
When I first came to Congress I saw how easily we slipped into conflict. I saw how normally placid people could get swept up by war fever. It led me to study war. I learned that during the course of the 20th century more than 100,000,000 people perished in wars. Today, violence is an overarching theme, encompassing personal, group, national and international conflict, extending to the production of nuclear, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction which have been developed for use on land, air, sea and space. Such conflict is taken as a given of the human condition without questioning whether the structures of thought, word and deed which the people of the United States have inherited are any longer sufficient for the maintenance , growth and survival of the United States and the world.
Personal violence in the United States has great human and financial costs, costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually, not including war-related costs. Child abuse and neglect cost over $100 billion annually.
We are in a new millennium and the time has come to review age-old challenges with new thinking, wherein we can conceive of peace as not simply being the absence of violence but the active presence of the capacity for a higher evolution of human awareness, of respect, trust and integrity, a condition that allows us all to tap the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform the consciousness and conditions which impel or compel violence at a personal, group or national level toward developing a new understanding of and commitment to compassion and love, in order to create a "shining city on a hill," the light of which is the light of nations.
It was this thinking, this articulation which I was privileged to bring forth on July 11, 2001, fully two months before 9/11, and to introduce a bill, HR 808, to create a cabinet level Department of Peace, a bill soon to be reintroduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee as the Department of Peace Building.
Imagine coming from a position of love of our country and for each other, if we moved forward without judgment, to meet the promise of a more perfect union by meeting the challenge of violence in our homes, our streets, our schools, our places of work and worship, meet the challenge of violence in our society through the creation of a new structure in our society which can directly address domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, gun violence, gang violence, violence against gays. This goes much deeper than legislation forbidding such conduct, or creating systems to deal with victims. Those are necessary - but not sufficient. We need to go much deeper if we are to, at last, shed the yoke of violence which we carry through our daily lives.
We know violence is a learned response. So is nonviolence. We must replace a culture of violence with a culture of peace, not through the antithetical use of force, not through endless "thou shalt nots" and not through mere punishment, but through tapping our higher potential to teach principles of peace building and peace sharing at the earliest ages as part of a civic education in a democratic society.
Carl Rogers, the humanist psychologist, has written "the behavior of the human organism may be determined by the external influences to which it has been exposed, but it may also be determined by the creative and integrative insight of the organism itself." We are not victims of the world we see; we become victims of the way we see the world. If we are prepared to confidently call forth a new America, if we have the courage to not simply re-describe America but to reclaim it, we will once again fall in love with the light which so many years ago shone through the darkness of human existence to announce the birth of a new freedom.Some say he's a dreamer, but he's not the only one. The piece has much more, and should be spread widely.