Outgoing Rep. Dennis Kucinich: With 2 Parties Failing U.S., Itís on Us to Build a "Culture of Peace"
an article by Democracy Now
Video: Dennis Kucinich
Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is serving his last week in Congress after eight terms in office. Since 1997, Kucinich has been a leading progressive voice on Capitol Hill, known for actions including the bringing of articles of impeachment against George W. Bush for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, voting against the USA PATRIOT Act, advocating for ending the war on drugs, challenging U.S. warfare from Afghanistan to Libya, and pushing for single-payer healthcare to replace the patchwork, privatized U.S. system. Kucinich ran for president in 2004 and 2008 with a vow to create a Department of Peace. "The two-party system itself is failing the American people," Kucinich says. "We have to look at the culture of violence that we have in America and ... build a culture of peace."
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Here are some excerpts from the transcript:
"When we find in a post-9/11 America that we are mired in a condition of fear; when we see the massive amounts of spending thatís gone for war and increased military buildups and for expansion of spy agencies like the Domestic Intelligence Agency, which is just adding another 1,600 spies so that the Pentagon can have their own spy agency to compete with, what, the CIA abroad; when you see the interventions that have fallen flat and have been disastrous, such as Libya and Benghazi; when you see al-Qaeda growing in strength because of our own misapplication of force, you have to ask, if this is about Democrat and Republican, this system is failing. And weíre seeing an evidence of it on fiscally, but weíre seeing another evidence of it in foreign policy, and weíre seeing an evidence of it domestically, when you can see a surveillance state arising under the noses of both political parties. . . .
"I think that this ubiquity, ubiquitousness of violence in our society isnít just about guns. We have to look at the culture of violence that we have in America and deal with it in a way that isnít about beating ourselves up, but we have to look at the spectrum of violenceódomestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, violence in the school, gang violence, gun violence, racial violence, violence against gays, and the police community challenges that come up. And in doing that, thatís why I called for, years ago, a Department of Peace, not to simply create another federal department, but to have an organized approach nationally to deal with the violence in a society, to help families deal with the tensions that they have at home, to deal with some of the fundamental attitudes people have, boys might have about girls, and, you know, through education. We need to take a new approach.
". . . we need to build a culture of peace in America. Is it possible? Of course it is. You know, violence is a learned response. So is nonviolence. And so, through education and through creating a social health safety net, I think that we can meet the challenge. And thatís one of the things Iím certainly going to be involved in as I leave the Congress. . . "
Question(s) related to this article:
Can the culture of peace be established at the level of the state?,
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Latest reader comment:
The state has come, over the centuries, to monopolize the culture of war. It would require a radical change in its very nature for it to abandon the culture of war and adopt a culture of peace.
For details on how the state has come to monopolize the culture of war, see The History of the Culture of War