- Huntington Police Seach for Armed Robber; Another Reported on Washington Avenue
- Man Arrested in West End of Huntingtotn for Possession
- Hallowed WTC Steel Relics Arrive in Huntington IMAGES
- Rooster's Hosts Princess Night with Mickey and Minnie Mouse IMAGES
- Columbus Police Issue Heroin Destruction Order after more than 30 Overdoses
- W.Va. AG Warns Consumers of DMV Impostor Scam
- "What the Night Can Do" begins filming in Lewisburg Sep. 26
- Hundreds of Nonprofit Organizations Join to Demand Reform of "Rogue" Agency
- Attorney General Morrisey Fights To Protect Coal Jobs At Crucial Moment
- CSB Releases Final Report into 2014 Freedom Industries Mass Contamination of Charleston, West Virginia Drinking Water
OP-ED: Building a Peaceful Future for Our Children
The US is a society organized for war. We spend almost 50 percent of federal tax monies every year on military—not just to pay soldiers and veterans, but to engage in conflict, for research and development of weapons and equipment, and more. When this amount of funding is spent on military, it clearly cannot be used to build infrastructure, to enhance the quality of our public schools, to provide social services, to assist the poor, hungry and mentally ill, etc. Our military budget is equal to that of the next fifteen countries combined. More than this, however, militarism is an ideology that privileges certain values, including hierarchy, competition, authoritarianism, and obedience, among others.
Politicians, fearful of being seen as “soft,” engage the country in still more violence, at the same time inadequately addressing human needs. This militaristic ideology has shaped the ways our schools are structured, what we teach, and how we teach it. It impacts our media, as commentators on either side of the political divide use the same aggressive methods of yelling at and interrupting one another and degrading their “enemy” whenever possible. Media over-represents the amount of violent crime, for which creates a fearful populace that will sometimes accept any effort that is supposed to keep us safe. Our criminal justice system is militaristic, from our incessant “wars on” mentality to our arming and equipping military-style swat teams and more. I could go on, but I hope the point is made.
To counter a militaristic culture, we need to begin infusing every institution with an alternate model. To do so will require not just schools but the other institutions listed here to begin to see their work as that of peacebuilding. We need to engage in dialogue that dissects our devotion to militarism and violence and that critically assesses its impact. We can take back our democracy from politicians who are influenced by militaristic lobbies—the gun lobby, the prison lobby, etc—and we can demand that our politicians begin investing in projects and institutions that empower people and communities, affirm human rights, and promote social justice.
I recognize that this won’t be easy. Radically changing a societal ideology as hegemonic as militarism is never easy. But how many more people, how many more children, do we need to lose before we say better to work hard, engage the difficult conversations, and build a more peaceful future for our children?
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Laura L. Finley, Ph.D., Sociology and Criminology, at Florida's Barry University, is syndicated by PeaceVoice.This commentary submitted by
Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D. Director, PeaceVoice Program, Oregon Peace Institute http://www.peacevoice.info/