When we lobby for police reform and demand accountability in our criminal justice system most of the time we’re looking to two political parties (or variations thereof) to represent our cause.
But if you are a democrat or a republican today, you are likely a member of one political party — the DESTRUCTIVE “party”. In real terms as US taxpayers this is what I mean…
We pay our government for services. And across both party lines we are currently investing in punitive services over rehabilitative ones, i.e. destructive action rather than creative or restorative action.
The majority of our tax dollars go to military spending. At least $700 Billion dollars a year conservatively. Literally over 1 Trillion dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
We devote our resources on drone bombing “terrorists” (and civilians) around the world. We do not invest nearly the same money on international community building endeavors to win hearts and minds. As Gallup research has shown, it’s much more effective to make friends by addressing their needs (creative action) than it is to bomb their families.
This reflects our behavior at home — as we have been incapable of conflict resolution and resource building endeavors domestically in the crime and violence ridden communities in our own country.
We spend more jailing poor people for drugs, than on job programs, education and rehabilitation services.
We are building more prisons than universities. We pay prison guards more than teachers. And what’s the result? The largest prison population in the world and declining education rates.
This trend can’t be surprising. Look at our political system itself: two parties in constant conflict rooted more due to conflict from cultural prejudice than actual ideology. E.g. the leadership of both parties supported bombing for peace in Syria — while the grassroots of both parties (representing a majority of the people) were against bombing.
Ideally we would have a fourth estate — a free press that holds our government accountable for their destructive services. But look at our news media. It’s filled with arguing pundits in perpetual conflict (to sell advertising) rather than in depth investigative journalism covering stories helping elevate public policy decisions.
And of course in such a vitally pressing way, we see this all reflected in our environmental policy. Even if the predictions on global warming were exaggerated. what could be harmful about creating a more sustainable green economy? Is it too creative?
Too bad the first US government killed off the native population of this land. Their culture could have taught us so much.
When we look at our modern mythology — our stories on film and television we see the same thing. An abundance of violence and revenge stories. The hero must always kill the villain in the end. Destructive action is wound into the fabric of our culture.
So today, if the government services we finance, our tribal mythology and the reporting mechanisms that inform us are ALL in the business of conflict and destructive action how can we imagine something else?
And until the US changes course from investing in destructive services vs creative services we cannot hope to be a world leader for conflict resolution. We are still in the conflict and destruction business ourselves.
We need a radical shift to solve problems creatively iIf we are to survive. And thrive. We aren’t seeing that shift in either of the 2 mainstream political parties. But we are seeing it in individual candidates and artists. I am looking at one in particular that may be a good candidate for president. But a single representative never takes the place of the leadership of the people.
So as we observe this destructive behavior I hope for all of us that we don’t let the violence carry on. As Gandhi wisely said let us “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Here are a few inspiring and transformative books that have supported me in taking action out of love and creativity rather than fighting fire with fire, which can only hope to burn us all.