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Musings: Prepare for Peace – A New Type of Memorial Day Next Year

“It is only when you see a mosquito landing on your testicles that you realize that there is always a way to solve problems without using violence.”
~ Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu

Most of my newsletters are focused on societal issues, spiritual values and ethical leadership. However, as we prepare to elect our next President, and as we consider the tragic outcomes from violence in the world, we need to focus on moving our country towards nonviolent solutions. My work over the last 20 years has been to teach the principles of nonviolence and peacemaking.

Knowing of my work, a dear friend Stan Siegel recently sent me an article – “Preparing for the Next Memorial Day” by Common Dreams reporter Medea Benjamin (LINK) – which touched on the state of affairs in our nation, from the violence that still mars our foreign policy and the military spending that supports this violence … to a need for a new way of being for our society.

In particular I was surprised by the following statistics:

  • The U.S. military budget is over $600 billion – almost as much as the rest of the world combined. All this while not investing in many important things like the crisis of global warming, building new and modern infrastructure, trying to bring American healthcare up to the level of the rest of the developed world – and many more.
  • A Rand study examining the 40-year history of groups once designated as terrorists found that out of 268 groups, 43 percent came to their demise through their participation in the political process, 40 percent through effective policing, and only 7 percent through military force. (Rand study – LINK).
  • The United States has become addicted to the lucrative business of war, with U.S. companies now accounting for 31 percent of global arms exports.
Medea Benjamin observes that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have shown us that as President they will tend to lead us towards more violence and move the country deeper into darkness. She notes important changes we should seek before we get to the next Memorial Day.

  1. Stop sending our young to fight unwinnable wars that only make enemies and profit military contractors.
  2. Cut the military budget so that we have funds for the critical needs here at home, from universal healthcare to free college education to green jobs.
  3. Take better care of our veterans in order to end homelessness and improve mental health.

The article validates much of the philosophy I have been advocating. As we move towards our November election of the next President, it is incredibly important that we pick the candidate who will support a nonviolent strategy rather than war and violence. We should all look to demand that Trump and Clinton talk about their approaches to make these changes and to debate these issues. Let’s all do what we can to move our country towards more peace and less violence.

Thank you – peace and many blessings.

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Azim Khamisa

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