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Peace is Practical

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I live in Plano, Texas, an affluent mostly Republican suburb, bordering Dallas. My Republican friends and neighbors tell me that it is our patriotic duty to fly the flag on September 11th. Ever since that Tuesday morning when the entire world learned of the attacks, displays of American flags and "United We Stand" stickers and posters populate our SUVs and store windows.

On the 5th anniversary of the devastation, President Bush stated that over a million men and women volunteered for military service. Over 100,000 people have died in the "war on terror". over 50,000 U.S. service men and women have lost their limbs and their mental and emotional state of well-being. As the Pentagon Budget keeps growing, valuable social services that American citizens depend on for their security are of lower priority to our elected officials, than the "war on terror" or the "war on Islamic fascism". During the 20th Century, over 100 million people lost their lives to war -- most of whom were non-combatants.

While the Bush administration has promised to keep Americans safe, the world saw people in The Gulf Coast starving last summer and struggling for their lives as a photo of President Bush looking down on the storm damage from Air Force One was published.

After all is said and done about what is bad about the Bush administration and the U.S government, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A vital force in the U.S. Congress lead by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), and behind this force in Congress, citizens across the nation volunteer. This outstanding effort to do something to stop endless war and violence is called The Campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace, (House Resolution 3760 and Senate 1756). http://www.thepeacealliance.org/ There are currently 75 congressional co-sponsors of this legislation in the House and 2 in the Senate. At 2% of the cost it takes to finance the Pentagon budget, A U.S. Department of Peace (DOP) would research, articulate and facilitate non-violent efforts to address both domestic and international conflict. The original idea of a Peace Department in the United States dates back to the administration of George Washington. During The Cold War, Eighty-five bills calling for a Department of Peace were introduced in the House or the Senate. Between 1990 and 2003 over 1,700 schools in Ohio participated in a conflict management program. Evaluations of this program show a decline in the number of conflict-related behaviors leading to suspension and expulsion. 90% of teachers participating in the program said their schools were safer. http://disputeresolution.ohio.gov/schools/evaluatingcrep.htm

Peace on earth is practical. The 2005 Missile Defense budget was 10 billion dollars for a system that is not operational. The Divine Strake test is possibly scheduled in New Mexico for 2007. Supporters of DOP ask whether our priorities should be to build more nuclear weapons, which could harm our own citizens, or perhaps we should consider how innocent people are susceptible to a nuclear attack or a theft of nuclear materials?

Domestic peace at home is practical. The Bush administration has called for an amendment protecting the institution of marriage from gay people who love each other and want to get married. The DOP 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.
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DOP activist groups exist in all 50 states and over 280 Congressional districts. September 11th stands out not only for the 2001attacks, but also as the 100-year anniversary of Satyagraha, the modern nonviolent movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. September 21st marks the fifth anniversary of the International Day of Peace, established by the United Nations in 2001. In recognition of these events, people in cities and towns across the nation are staging local "Walks for Peace." Organizers of these events, planned in collaboration with the Peace Alliance, say these walkathons will help raise awareness of legislation (HR 3760 and S. 1756) currently in the House and Senate to create a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

For information about local walks, please visit: http://www.thepeacealliance.org/content/view/185/147/
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Linda Zoblotsky is Writer, Producer and Director of the entertaining and educational one-woman play, LINDA ZOBLOTSKY IS LUVCHILD, about adoption and an adopted adult's search for her Birthparents.

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