How many of you have heard of the Department of Peace?
A bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace (H.R. 1673) is gaining momentum in the House of Representatives. This bill establishes non-violence as an organizing principle of American society and would provide the U.S. President with an array of peace-building policy options for domestic and international use.
The Department would focus on non-military peaceful conflict resolutions, seek to prevent violence, and promote democratic principles to expand human rights.
Domestically, the Department would be responsible for developing policies which address issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, mistreatment of the elderly, and other issues of cultural violence.
Internationally, the Department would gather research, analyze foreign policy and make recommendations to the President on how to address the root causes of war, ideally so that intervention could take place before violence begins. The Department would also endeavor to improve national security, including the protection of human rights.
In summary, the Department would:
- Address matters both domestic and international in scope;
- Endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights;
- Strengthen non-military means of peacemaking;
- Work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict, use field-tested programs, and develop new structures in non-violent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution;
- Encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and nongovernmental organizations.
For much more information on what it would do, read the bill here.
Currently the bill needs a sponsor in the Senate, and Senator Barbara Boxer is reported to be interested. Senator Boxer's aides stressed the importance of hearing from citizens regarding how they feel about this legislation. They are urging you to call, email and fax Senator Boxer (as well as your own senators). Whether you are a resident of California or not, the Senator would like to hear from you. Contact details can be found on the website.
I don't know how successful this department could be, but I think it would be interesting to bring the conversation to the national forefront.