communicating with one another
by Aggie Perilli
While gun control may treat the symptoms of violence, only a fearless unbridled passion for peace will eliminate violence at its root cause. The school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, is the latest horror to engage and unify the public around strengthened gun regulations. Following are other New Year’s resolutions that would transform violence into peace from the inside out, and for the long term.
- Ignore spokespeople who scapegoat and attack others, and replace them with leaders who are honest and inclusive. A 2011 United States survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University found viewers of ideological news programs the least informed citizens, while listeners of National Public Radio and viewers of Sunday morning talk shows were the most informed––followed by viewers of The Daily Show.
- Reinforce laws against hate speech and inciting violence. Ignore and immediately train or replace anyone who attempts to trivialize or glorify or what President Dwight Eisenhower called “the horror and lingering sadness of war.” Believe in love, and live the golden rule. Treat yourself as kindly as others, and all beings as kindly as yourself.
- Reinforce regulations that enhance health and safety. Turning a blind eye to health and safety compromises across industries is accelerating global warming, and leading to earlier and more frequent cases of cancer and debilitating illnesses, especially among children.
- Take loving care of yourself, others, and Mother Nature. Balance time spent on electronics and your career with physical and social activities, preferably outdoors. Spend quality time in nature. Play without purpose. Read. Listen to music. Engage in the creative arts.
- Join or advance leaders who are honest and informed. Independently research solutions the people affected agree are for the common good. In an interview with The New York Times interview, Israeli President Shimon Peres said, ”The man with a hammer thinks every problem is a nail. Problems are not nails. If there is good will, they can all be overcome.”
- Accelerate disarmament from illegal weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and immediately halt human rights violations and other war crimes. This includes the targeting of untried citizens for assassination or indefinite detention; the use of bombs and ammunitions made with depleted uranium; and the wiretapping or mining of electronics.
- Stop illegal drone and ground attacks. “After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes in Afghanistan last year, President Hamid Karzai demanded such attacks end, but they have continued in areas of Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, which are not in any war zone,” wrote former President Jimmy Carter in a New York Times op-ed article. “We don’t know how many innocent civilians have been killed in attacks …that would have been unthinkable in previous times.”
- Redirect the trillions of dollars the United States, alone, is losing on nearly intractable unwinnable wars to peacemaking–and the restoration of infrastructures, resources, and livelihoods devastated by violence. Where you live, shift from calamitous nuclear power and fossil fuels to 100% clean energy ideally suited to your climate and resources, as in Burlington, Vermont, and elsewhere. Research and ensure universally safe and clean drinking water; affordable education and healthcare for all; voluntary and independently tested medicines and vaccines; equal taxation; and the one person, one vote. Without delay, shift to regenerative organic agriculture and landscaping; the humane treatment of animals; and 100% chemical- and GMO-free organic food, clothing, and industrial practices. Transform the violence and desperation that can feed violence into visionary communications and partnerships that enrich our world community.
- Insist that entertainers, the media, and all industries accurately portray peacemaking as what is safe and sexy. The shock value of brutality is no substitute for empathetic communication and wit. When did modern society become like the ancient Romans, who went to The Colosseum and watched the killing of untried individuals and others for entertainment?
- Be authentic and proactive. Apply your passions and abilities to romance a world of peace, however menacingly some might disapprove. Throughout your visionary and inclusive processes, be as patient and tolerant as you’d like others to be with you. Maintain mutual boundaries and be firm but kind.
“The soldiers who are dead and gone…” sang Curtis Mayfield in the 70s. “If only we could bring back one, he’d say that ‘we’ve got to have peace to keep the world alive.’” Is world peace impossible? Throughout his 89 years on earth, Peres said he has seen faith triumph more often than cynicism or skepticism. Model and inspire the only true and enduring power of empathetic communication and partnerships.
What peace-related New Year’s resolutions are you implementing?
The Permanent Militarization of America