The cynicism displayed in a recent article in the Washington Post, ‘U.S. Department of Peace’ may never get its chance and in some of the comments following it is symptomatic of a deep despair and loss of values in the American body politic. There is a painful cognitive dissonance between what our culture teaches us through our media and institutions of law, education and religion about what is “fair” and “equal” treatment of our fellow human beings, and what is the sum of our collective behaviors. Generosity is dismissed as “kumbaya,” and the domination of others is implicitly elevated as the only practical method of operation.
The only logical conclusion of a policy of domination is nuclear winter and the end of humanity as a species. Humanity has survived because of collaboration and cooperation, not in spite of it. Nonviolent resistance which views the opponent as worthy of respect and dignity has freed billions of people from oppressive rulers. Restorative justice programs have built positive relations between criminals and their communities for centuries in indigenous communities and are now being adopted by modern societies to drastically reduce recidivism.
We are undergoing a rapid renewal of values which is almost invisible, especially to the mainstream media and public. It is the “fringe element” of any organic system which seeks and discovers the keys to survival for the entire system. If you have complete faith in the status quo, you would not want to read “Yes!” magazine or “The Cultural Creatives” by Ray and Anderson, because they could crack open your cynicism and let in the possibility of a better world.