Proposed Legislation for the Department of Peace

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A Concept for Peace

A Concept for Peace

Whereas, on July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress unanimously declared the Independence of the thirteen colonies, and in the enactment the conclusion of Peace was recognized as one of the highest duties of the new organization of free and independent states; and

Whereas, in declaring "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," the drafters derived the creative cause of nationhood from "the Laws of Nature" and the entitlements of "Nature’s God"; such referrals in the Declaration of Independence thereby serving to celebrate the unity of human thought, natural law and spiritual causation; and

Whereas, the architects of the Declaration of Independence "with a firm Reliance of the Protection of divine Providence" spoke to the connection between the original work infusing principle into the structure of a democratic government seeking to elevate the condition of humanity, and the activity of a higher power which moves to guide the nation’s fortune; and

Whereas, the Constitution of the United States of America, in its Preamble, further set forth the insurance of the cause of Peace in stating: "We the People of the United States, in Order to Form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." and

Whereas, the Founders of this country gave America a vision of freedom for the ages and provided us with a document which gave this nation the ability to adapt to an undreamed of future; and

Whereas, it is our sacred duty to receive the living truths of our founding documents and to think anew to develop institutions which permit the unfolding of the highest moral principles in this nation and around the world; and

Whereas, during the course of the Twentieth Century, over 100 million people perished in wars, and now, at the dawn of the 21st Century violence seems to be an overarching theme in the world, encompassing personal, group, national and international conflict, extending to the production of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction which have been developed for use on land, air, sea and in outer space; and

Whereas, such conflict is often taken as a reflection of the human condition without questioning as to whether the structures of thought, word and deed which we have inherited are any longer sufficient for the maintenance, growth and survival of this nation and the world; and

Whereas, we are in a new millennium and the time has come to review age-old challenges with new thinking; wherein we can conceive of peace as not simply being the absence of violence, but the active presence of the capacity for a higher evolution of the human awareness, of respect, trust and integrity; wherein we all may tap the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform consciousness and conditions which impel or compel violence at a personal, group or national level towards creating understanding, compassion and love; to create a "shining city on a hill" whose light is the light of nations;

Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:

Title I: Department of Peace. There shall be established a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, which shall be of the Executive Branch of the Government. The Department of Peace shall hold peace as an organizing principle, coordinating service to every level of American society. It shall be oriented toward the development of human potential. It shall be enabled to strengthen non-military means of peacemaking. It shall endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. It shall seek to create peace, to prevent violence, to divert from armed conflict, to use field-tested programs and to develop new structures in non-violent dispute resolution. The Department of Peace shall be charged with taking a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies which promote strategies for conflict prevention, non-violent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict and structured remediation of conflict. It shall address matters both domestic and international in scope. It shall endeavor to derive its strength from a structure which encourages the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups and non-governmental organizations. A Secretary of Peace shall be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Peacemaking. The Department of Peace shall be dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions which are conducive to peace. It shall be empowered in all matters pertaining to conflict resolution, including observation, analysis, control, cooperation and prognosis of the dynamics of conflict at all levels, personal, interpersonal small groups, organizational and mass conflict. It shall work proactively and interactively with all branches of government on all policy matters relating to conditions of peace. The act shall provide for the transfer of appropriate agency functions to the Peace Department.

Responsibilities. It shall be charged with the responsibility for monitoring and analyzing causative principles of conflict and to make policy recommendations for developing and maintaining peaceful conduct. It shall determine whether and which conditions call for peacemaking and shall be empowered to be proactive.

Administration and Policy Development. The Department of Peace shall call on the intellectual and spiritual wealth of the nation and seek participation in its administration and in its development of policy from civil rights leaders, religious leaders, labor leaders; non-government organizations; active duty enlisted military personnel and retired veterans of the military; educators, semanticists, and linguists; business executives; holistic practitioners, including those in medicine and nutrition; family physicians, school nurses, psychologists, and scientists; philosophers, anthropologists and sociologists.

It shall further enlist the participation of writers, artists, including performing artists, coaches from high school, college and professional athletics, motivational speakers; and others at community levels, including neighborhood leaders and law enforcement personnel whose involvement in society has provided experience as to which conditions create peace or the absence of peace, and how peace may be maintained as an individual, interpersonal, small group, large group and mass construct.

Domestic Application. The Department of Peace shall be empowered to develop policies which address domestic violence, including, but not limited to, spousal abuse, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly. It shall endeavor to create new policies which are responsive to the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse, and of crime. It shall analyze present policies, employ successful, field-tested programs; and develop new approaches for dealing with the implements of violence, including gun-related violence and the overwhelming presence of handguns in our society, school violence, gangs, racial or ethnic violence, violence against gays and lesbians, and police-community relations disputes. It shall be charged with making policy recommendations to the Department of Justice regarding civil rights and labor law. It shall assist in the establishment and funding of community-based violence prevention programs, including violence prevention counseling and peer mediation in schools. It shall counsel and advocate on behalf of women victimized by violence. It shall provide for public education programs and counseling strategies concerning hate crimes. It shall promote racial and ethnic tolerance.

Education. The Department of Peace shall develop a peace education curriculum, and, in co-operation with the Department of Education, it shall commission the development of such curricula and make available to local school districts, to enable the utilization of peace education objectives at all elementary and secondary public schools in the United States. Such curriculum shall include studies of the civil rights movement in the United States and throughout the world, with special emphasis on how individual endeavor and involvement have contributed to advancements in peace and justice. Peace educations shall equip students to become skilled in achieving peace through reflection and meditation and instructed in the ways of peaceful conflict resolution. Peace education shall include the study of peace agreements and circumstances where peaceful intervention has worked to stop conflict. The Department of Peace, in cooperation with the Department of Education, shall offer incentives in the form of grants and training to encourage the development of state peace curricula and to assist schools in applying for such curricula.

The Department of Peace shall maintain a Web page for the purposes of soliciting and receiving ideas for the development of peace from the wealth of political, social and cultural diversity. It shall call forth America’s youth, for the purposes of creative peacemaking, and shall proactively engage the critical thinking capabilities of grade school, high school and college students via the Internet and other media. It shall issue periodic reports concerning such submissions. The Department of Peace shall provide for the funding of Peace Studies Departments in colleges and universities across the country and for the creation of a Peace Academy which shall become co-ordinate in structure and in resources with existing military service academies.

International Application. The Department of Peace shall be coordinate and complementary to the Department of Defense and the Department of State on all matters relating to the national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention of, amelioration of, and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict. It shall provide for the training of all U.S. personnel who administer post-conflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies. It shall sponsor country and regional conflict-prevention and dispute resolution initiatives, create special task forces, and draw on local, regional and national expertise to develop plans and programs for addressing the root sources of conflict in troubled areas.

The Department shall provide for citizen exchanges and for exchanges of legislators. It shall encourage the development of international sister cities programs, pairing US cities with cities around the globe for artistic, cultural, economic and educational exchange. It shall be authorized to administer the training of civilian peacekeepers to support civilian police who participate in civilian peacekeeping. Together with the Department of the Treasury, it shall strengthen peace enforcement through hiring and training monitors and investigators to help with the enforcement of international arms embargoes and sanctions against terrorists and human rights abusers.

Human Security. It shall address issues of human security, wherever that security is threatened by conflict, whether said conflict be geographic, religious, ethnic, racial or class in its origins, derives from economic concerns including trade, maldistribution of the wealth, or whether the conflict initiates through disputes concerning scarcity of natural resources, such as water and energy resources, food, trade or environmental concerns.

Consultation. In consultation with the Department of State, the Department of Peace shall be called upon to develop strategies for sustainability and to manage the distribution of international funds established for that purpose.

There shall be established a formal process of consultation of the Department of Peace by the Department of State and the Department of Defense, prior to the initiation of any armed conflict between the United States and any other nation, or by the United States for any matter involving the use of State Department or Defense Department personnel within the United States.

In the case where conflict is ongoing or recently concluded, the Department of Peace shall conduct independent studies of diplomatic initiatives undertaken by the United States and other parties to the conflict. The Department of Peace shall be consulted in the drafting by the Executive Branch of all treaties and peace agreements.

It shall be required to submit to the President annual reports making recommendations for reductions in conventional, nuclear and space-based weapons, as well as to make annual reports on the sale of arms from the United States to other nations, with analysis of the impact of such sales on the defense of the United States and analysis as to how such sales affect peace. In the interests of the economy and efficiency, it shall be charged with the responsibility of conducting economic analyses of the activities of the Department of Defense.

The Department shall finance local community initiatives which can draw on neighborhood resources to create peace projects which serve to facilitate the development of conflict resolution at a local level and thereby inform national policy. The Department shall facilitate the development of Peace Summits at local, regional, national and international levels, where people may gather under carefully prepared conditions that permit communication and learning without violence.

Peace Day. The first day of each year, January 1, shall be designated as Peace Day in the United States and all citizens should be encouraged to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace in the coming year. The day shall include discussions of the lives of peacemakers.

Media. Respecting the First Amendment, and the requirement for a free and independent media, the Department of Peace shall seek assistance in the design and implementation of its policies from professionals in the print and the electronic media of radio, television, motion pictures and the Internet. It shall study the role of the media in the escalation and de-escalation of conflict at domestic and international levels and make public its findings on its Web page. It shall make recommendations to professional media organizations in order to provide opportunities to increase media awareness.

Financing. The Department of Peace shall be financed based on a formula which is indexed at one percent of the total annual budget of the Department of Defense.

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