It’s squillions for the price of one internet connection over on the list of bills currently before the US House Judiciary Committee. There’s some fascinatingly weird stuff in there.
However, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wins the biscuit with H.R. 808, the Department of Peace Act.
After a load of waffling on about the great American tradition of peace (wtf? – ed.), the bloody thing kicks off with:
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 toward developing a new understanding of, and a commitment to, compassion and love, in order to create a ‘shining city on a hill’, the light of which is the light of nations.
Yeah, okay. This sort of cheap-pulpit rhetoric does not belong in a piece of official legislation.
And what, you ask, will this Department of Peace do?
(a) Establishment- There is hereby established a Department of Peace (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Department’), which shall–
(1) be a cabinet-level department in the executive branch of the Government; and
(2) be dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to both domestic and international peace.
If I force my brain through massive self-deception to ignore the heavy, in fact wholly unsubtle, Orwellian connotations of this bill – and even if I approach the idea of ‘peacemaking’ as a worthwhile endeavour on a federal scale – still I can see and hear nothing but (a) the laughter of the rest of the world as life imitates art, and (b) the ever-higher-licking flames of yet more piles of dollars burning on the altar of government expansion.
I mean, a new Cabinet department? Is Dennis on crack? Look what happened that last time we allowed that! Or am I wrong in thinking that the department of Homeland Security has not been a staggering success?
But allow me to suggest you read the full text for yourself. There’s some real gold in there: apparently animal welfare will fall within the Secretary of Peace’s purview, as will twinning US cities with places all over the world ‘for artistic, cultural, economic, educational, and faith-based exchanges.’
I think this bill needs renaming. It ought to be H.R. 808 The ‘Please, Jesus, Come Back and Make the World Happy’ Act of 2009.
UPDATE: Oh my… It gets even more sinister. This clause:
(7) create and establish a Peace Academy, which shall–
(A) be modeled after the military service academies; and
(B) provide a 4-year course of instruction in peace education, after which graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution
is just the creepy precursor to this insanity:
SEC. 104. OFFICE OF PEACE EDUCATION AND TRAINING.
(a) In General- There shall be in the Department an Office of Peace Education and Training, the head of which shall be the Assistant Secretary for Peace Education and Training. The Assistant Secretary for Peace Education and Training shall carry out those functions of the Department relating to the creation, encouragement, and impact of peace education and training at the elementary, secondary, university, and postgraduate levels, including the development of a Peace Academy.
(b) Peace Curriculum- The Assistant Secretary of Peace Education and Training, in cooperation with the Secretary of Education, shall support the dissemination and development of effective peace curricula and supporting materials for distribution to departments of education in each State and territory of the United States. The peace curriculum shall include the building of communicative peace skills, nonviolent conflict resolution skills, and other objectives to increase the knowledge of peace processes.
My hackles just don’t go any higher. Perhaps I have slipped into a late-night hallucinatory state, and this will all turn out to be a hideous figment of my imagination. I hope the HJC have enough sense to drown this bill like a sack of unwanted kittens.
[shivers with dread]