Marianne supports legislation currently before Congress to establish a U.S. Department of Peace. This Cabinet-level position would research and facilitate non-violent solutions to both domestic and international conflict. Marianne believes it is a much needed addition to our government's current problem-solving techniques, and urges citizens to participate in the effort to wage peace on both a personal and public level.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the original sponsor of the bill, joins Marianne to talk about the legislation. Domestically, Congressman Kucinich explains that the Department of Peace would deal with domestic violence, child abuse, racial violence, violence in school, police-community relations and more, while working to support and enable community groups and programs.
"Each department says something about the work of the country—we need to put the work of peace at the highest level of national expression," Dennis says. "This needs to be part of what we're about."
On an international level, Congressman Kucinich says the Department would advise the President and Congress in sophisticated, nonviolent conflict resolution. The creation of a Peace Academy would provide training in promoting peace among nations, just as the Military Academy currently provides training in war strategizing.
"That's what this is really all about: insisting on human unity, that we have the capacity to work together, that war is not inevitable and we understand that peace is not just the absence of war—it's a matter of an active presence in our own lives and government," says Dennis.
Congressman Kucinich says he has also been involved in setting up "9/10 forums" across the country, or outlets for citizens to voice their thoughts on who we were as a nation before 9/11. Having borrowed the idea from his wife, Dennis says the forums are "aimed at getting people to share their personal narratives, times in their life when they felt courageous and secure and were imbued with a love of country."