September 11

My Declaration of Peace

I have often heard of declarations of war, many of them not actual wars. We study when one nation declared war on another, and the two nations proceeded to slaughter each other's citizens, or one part of a nation declared war on another part, and the two sides proceeded to slaughter their own citizens. We see, or at least see advertisements for, an endless parade of movies about wars past -- "big ones," "important ones," "world changing ones." But now, our beloved United States wages war on other nations without declaring it. In fact, the United States has not declared war since World War II, and even that declaration was most likely contrived. Our beloved United States also now occupies other nations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and calls them "wars," apparently well enough to convince the large majority of my fellow citizens that these foreign occupations are indeed wars. Meanwhile, we declare wars on drugs, AIDS, poverty (although Republicans and most Democrats long ago surrendered to the financial oligarchs on that one), polio, German Measles, Tuberculosis, teen pregnancy, STDs -- whatever seems to be a threat to the public good, which is fine, but none of which are really wars. Some people go further and declare war based on their own personal biases, against Islam, abortion, gays, or people who don't act, look or think like they do. These are personal crusades, not wars. And of course, enabled by the events which happened 10 years ago today, our government has declared war on terror, but this is not a war, either. Terrorism is a crime, not an act of war, and should be treated as such. Now, even politics has become so partisan that has turned into a pseudo-war. Politicians declare war, talk-show hosts declare war, and scientists declare war. If you want to do something about some problem, convention tells us that "waging war" on it is the way to go. Instead, I say, waging peace is the way to go.

Never have I heard a declaration of peace. Are we such a war-minded people, that a commitment to peace is not possible? I don't think so. In fact, the world, including the United States, is full of pacifists and other peace-minded people, although our government has been hijacked by warmongers. My parents belong to a brand of Republican long-extinct in government -- peace-minded ones. They raised my older brothers and myself also to be peace-minded people. When I went to my parents' house yesterday, the conversation quickly turned to politics, 9/11, and miltarism. "We voted for Obama, but we are disappointed that he escalated the invasion of Afghanistan" -- not to mention killing middle easterners by remote control and mucking about militarily in Pakistan -- was my mother's biggest complaint about Obama. My mother said she thought he would bring all the U.S. troops back from both Iraq and Afghanistan, and I said I thought so too. On top of that, a large percentage of our beloved nation's public debt has been caused by military overspending, my parents pointed out. In fact, I suspect that the large majority, if not all, of America's public debt is due to military overspending over a period of generations. My father said that Obama did mention making further military commitments in Afghanistan, but somehow, my mother and I missed that part of his campaign. My disgruntled Republican parents concluded that they were disappointed in Obama, not so much because of his attempts at domestic policy making, but rather, due to his military policies. I had to agree with them. By the way, my parents also mentioned that they are already sick of the 9/11 media overcoverage -- ditto here. We have absolutely no viable political choice in America as peace-lovers, and that is tragic. Only war-mongers and people who are afraid to be called pansies and thus are intimidated into supporting militaristic policies (who are probably the majority of politicians in my opinion) run for political office as Republicans or Democrats. I am not sure if American politics has always been this way, but it is now, and I suspect it has been for a very long time. Excepting those who are putting their lives are on the line by going to war, it takes more courage to be for peace, than for war.

However, I am for peace, and am willing to declare it. I hope for as many people as possible to join me.

I declare myself at peace with the Middle Easterners and all the Muslims of the world.

Perhaps a Muslim terrorist should happen to come to my town and blow me up, but chances are far greater that I will be killed by lightning than by a terrorist, and are greater that I will be killed by a non-Muslim terrorist than a Muslim one. The miniscule chance of being harmed by terrorists is a chance every one of us cannot avoid. Let us not waste our resources chasing those few who would commit acts of terror, nor worse, create more terrorists and enemies in the process. Let us treat terrorism as a crime in those rare instances in which it does happen, not as an act of war.

I declare peace and cooperation with the peoples of the world. We are not in an endless competition, but rather, all of humanity is bound to a common fate. Let us collaborate peacefully and make our common fate the best that we can.

I declare reverence for the environment, and thus, recognize the necessity of living peacefully within the environment even as we reshape it. Pillaging the natural world for profit does not profit humanity; it diminishes our world.

I declare that I will never support my nation going to war unless another nation has declared war on my beloved United States first, and is killing Americans on American soil.

I declare that I will not support my nation invading other nations, occupying other nations, or having military bases on foreign soil.

I declare that I will not support my nation's grossly oversized military nor its disgustingly gross military overspending. In short, I will not support the United States' military-industrial complex. This is where the nation's budget axe needs to be aimed!

I declare that I will approach relations with my fellow human beings, citizens of the United States or otherwise, from a position of peace and cooperation. I will never personally, intentionally cause harm to others or do anything counterproductive to the greater welfare. However, I will do what is necessary to create a better future for our world, a peaceful future, even if that means opposing those I disagree with, shattering their delusions, and/or derailing their war-time gravy trains. As I said, being a peacemonger takes courage.

I declare that I will vote for and support progressive, peace-minded candidates for political office whenever possible -- candidates who will stand up to the United States' mighty military killing machine and its mighty military-industrial complex, and who will ultimately be instrumental in bringing these institutions under control or even eliminating them.

I declare that I will push our existing administrations for peaceful policies and an end to war-based and militarism-based policies, beginning with President Obama, but including all of those who are part of our system of govenrment.

I declare the same peaceful priorities for all of the world, and thus, support peace among nations, peace organizations, and also support the implementation of peace-enhancing policies by international organizations such as the United Nations and NATO.

I recognize that paranoia, fear and fear based policies and politics are the enemy of peace. I will not give in to them and I will encourage my fellow human beings not to give into them as well.

I recognize the right of self-defense, but I believe, peace-minded politics will ultimately create a world in which war and thus the need to engage in wars of self-defense, are obsolete, and if not obsolete, greatly diminished.

I recognize that while actual bloody, armed conflict in the world has been diminishing over the decades, weapons-making and militarism as a means of control and intimidation have only increased and become more sophisticated. Contrary to conventional thinking, we will never truly be free until military control, intimidation and arms races are no longer part of world culture.

I recognize that I am imperfect, as a human being, and may not always live up to my ideals, but I will take them seriously, and never abandon my ideals or ideas for making ours a truly peaceful world of love and understanding.

This is my Declaration of Peace. Will you join me?