Sites of Interest
(courtesy Empire Burlesque)
A Tiny Revolution
William Blum/Killing Hope
The Distant Ocean
Welcome to the Sideshow
Mark Crispin Miller
Crooks and Liars
Black Agenda Report
The Raw Story
Iraq Vets Against the War
Blues and Dreams
Bright Terrible Spirit
The best New Year’s resolution all of us can make is to reject a way of life based on fear and to recognize that the more we obsess over security and define protection as requiring militarized responses, the less insecure we become as a nation.
The $548.9 billion base budget for the Department of Defense totals a whopping 3.4 percent increase over the 2010 enacted level. The DOD (Department of Defense) fact sheet, Keeping America Safe And Secure, states, “Protecting the American people is a top priority of the Administration. That is why the Budget provides $44 billion – nearly a billion dollar increase over the 2010 enacted level – for the DHS (Department of Homeland Security).” But it is a document of deceptions, crafted to benefit robber barons.
In reality, our only path to real security is to proactively demand that our government and businesses serve the public – not just here in America, but across the planet.
For the first 100 years that the US was a nation, no corporation was granted a charter unless it proved that its goal was to serve the people. Charters had to be renewed on average every 10 years – and renewal only came to those that passed the public service test.
If we want a peaceful, sustainable and just world for our children, then we must return to a value-system that reflects the compassion and social and environmental responsibility our nation once symbolized. We also need to recognize that for the first time in human evolution, our children’s future is totally integrated with that of every child on our planet.
As citizens, we must stop being passive about how our dollars are spent. More money does not equate a safer homeland. Acts of terrorism and desperation will end only when enough of us demand that our corporations, banks and government stop exploiting the world’s human and natural resources. Peace will come when we deal with the world from a place of respect and compassion – the very place I was taught that my dad and so many others defended during World War II.
As we begin this New Year, let us send new messages to refute the old ones. Let us insist that our leaders look beyond profits and produce goods and services that foster a better world. Let us demand compassion in our leadership even while they demand more war dollars.
When the Department of Defense states, as it did in its 2011 budget, “the DOD is identifying long-term strategic needs and targeting resources toward its highest priorities,” it is up to us to proclaim that war is NOT our highest priority. (You can do it easily through a site I often reference, Notmypriorities.org, and take action by sending postcards to your representatives in Congress.)
Let us join hands and commit to making 2011 the year of refuting the idea that spending on weapons, spying on civilians, and intrusive homeland security pat downs will keep us safer. Instead, let us redirect those dollars toward developing sustainable energy and agriculture, cleaning up the polluted lands, waters and air of our planet, and helping starving people find ways to grow, store and distribute healthy food to their families.
Let this be the year our grandchildren will remember as the time when we initiated a transformation that will enable them to thrive.
Perkins is a founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance, nonprofit organizations devoted to creating a stable, sustainable and peaceful world. He has lectured and taught at universities on four continents.