A friend of mine asked for some brief ideas on “Where do we go from here?” Oftentimes the best way to see the path forward is to start from the distant goal and ask what has to happen before that, and before that, etc. Starting from the top goal and working backwards to the more immediate goal, this is my crazy idea for a bridge to world security:
Some day in the near future, within our lifetime: The U.S. Congress authorizes and funds a Department of Peace or something like it, perhaps transforming the Homeland Security, Education, Health and State Departments to be well-funded agencies focused on violence prevention and human development. The United Nations acquires greater loyalty from its members and investing $60 billion per year provides shelter, health care, AIDS control, adequate nutrition for everyone on the planet over a 10-year period. Literacy and citizenship become universal. Churches are de-institutionalized and spirituality is commonly integrated into everyday life.
Before that happens: The pro-warriors agree that security is the goal. Lobbying develops into a highly creative art form. Nonviolence becomes a household word, and major conflicts transformed nonviolently are more common, recognized, and extolled. Corporations begin producing peace-building products and services on a large scale because it becomes profitable. The UN reforms into a more democratic, horizontal partnership of nations. Religious leadership is shared with lay persons, experiential testimony takes precedence over dogmatic beliefs, and ancient scripture is deeply understood.
Before that happens: The anti-warriors, the pro-peace-builders, and environmentalists agree that the means are the ends in the making. They create a united movement that presents an in-depth evaluation of strategies for security on a cost-benefit basis. The movement takes ownership of media broadcast networks producing nonviolent entertainment, news of progress in the environmental and nonviolence fields, educational programs on lifestyle change and citizenship skill-building. Major funding is acquired from progressive globalized corporations who leverage their influence on U.S. Congress and the United Nations.
Before that happens: The Peace Alliance (promoting a U.S. Dept. of Peace) unites with just ONE other group, possibly Beyond War or Nonviolent Peaceforce. Partnership becomes the new trend among environmental, anti-war, and peace groups. Corporate partners are enlisted in support of economic sustainability. Effective boycotts of corporations involved in damaging practices are organized. Specific plans are developed for re-tooling the weapons, petroleum and automotive industries into ultra-efficient organic production systems for new forms of transportation, housing, water purification, energy generation, agriculture.
A year from now: All the pro-peace groups who are working to build a culture of peace, the ones who have endorsed The Peace Alliance, everyone from the social justice and environmental movements, and anyone else who wants to come, meet in a large, open field under a huge tent with world-wide video linkups with similar audiences. Small donations from millions of people come pouring in. Some music, some meditation, and much conversation about goals occurs. Not much is said about strategies and no final conclusions are reached on the rational-intellectual level, but enough emotional-spiritual electricity is generated to fry the circuits of NBC and ABC. Fox News is speechless.