P. E. A. C. E.
Peace is more than the absence of war.
Peace is generally narrowly defined as a state in which there is no war with little thought given to the true depths of this term mainly associated with weapons, bloodshed and displacement, many times with eternal peace in death and sometimes with emotional peace of mind. But what is peace? Peace lies in personal and societal physical security and the recognition that one’s life, dignified existence and dreams are acknowledged and of value within their immediate environment and society at large. Peace means the absence of fear and need. Peace is found where the fulfillment and satisfaction of all things that make human beings whole are met…being loved and enjoying the dignity, beauty and grace of existence. Peace is comprised of those conditions and states which many cultures consider universal human rights.
We are always so quick to define peace as the paradox to physical wars, which it is. We, however, rarely stop and think about what war is beyond the oversimplified version of physical and verbal conflict. We are at war not only on a literal battlefield but also when our basic needs are not met or when we have that gnawing feeling that no matter what we do our dreams can only be achieved by luck, the grace of the universe and superhuman capabilities and exertion. With this in mind, the majority of Americans along with the majority of the global population are at war with the systems that systematically obstruct their basic and universal human rights.
How can a society be at peace where many, as a matter of birth, race, zip code and circumstance, are entrapped in a cycle and system that exists to sift out the “greatest” within minority communities while allowing for widespread and fuller opportunity from birth onwards in historically-privileged white communities here in the United States? Superhuman capabilities and feats are not yet a requirement to escape impoverishment for the great majority of the latter community although recent demographic trends reflecting the demise of the middle class are beginning to show that the poverty paradigm is rapidly expanding its reach into these communities.
This subversive war is fought via a poverty paradigm that plants the seeds that sow deeply-rooted and intergenerational social and economic injustice in groups without political and economic power. It rages against the human dignity of people in marginalized groups and is created as well as recycled by racial and class stereotypes, profiling and indigent conditions caused by economic injustice. It is omnipresent and oppressive and its only goal is to maintain a permanent underclass much like the caste system in India. Such social stratification promotes the perfect breeding ground for a socio-economic underclass whose cheap labor can be exploited at will and at the behest of corporate boardrooms, investors and shareholders. It is modern-day slavery and the plantation is nationwide as well as global. It is passed on from generation to generation. It kills well-being and prospects for individual peace, thus, societal peace.
Peace cannot be attained in environments where social and economic injustice are par for the course. The United States is the only highly-industrialized country that broadly generates and replenishes its poverty paradigm with legalized & moralized malfeasance. And as long as social and economic injustice are expected and welcomed components of our society, we will not work to eliminate it. Other highly-industrialized nations have long replaced their purely capitalistic models with enlightened social market economies and are currently seeking to further secure individual and societal peace within their borders while we are busy chasing corrupt police to bring them to justice. We here in the United States have lost sight of the big picture.
P. E. A. C. E.
Peace is knowing that you and your family will not go to bed or wake up hungry.
Peace is knowing that you have adequate and permanent housing.
Peace is knowing that you and your loved ones can attain any level of education or vocational educational training you desire and it simply comes down to you and your efforts, not your zip code or your bank account.
Peace is knowing that you have to schedule six weeks of obligatory vacation annually.
Peace is knowing that if you or any of your loved ones fall seriously ill that high-quality medical treatment without deductibles will not bankrupt you and that your government, health insurers and employer (if employed) work together to ensure that you do not return to work too early and compromise your health. Further, peace is knowing that your premium will not be raised because it is a fixed percentage of your income per government laws and regulations.
Peace is knowing that you can travel anywhere in the city or country at nearly any time of day or night and not be afraid of the police or people with guns. Moreover, peace is knowing that your country’s police force is comprised of officers who have had a minimum of 2 1/2 years of stringent training and know the laws of their country.
Peace is knowing that your neighbors, city and government value your well-being because they recognize that your individual well-being affects everyone.
Peace is knowing that when everything goes wrong that your community and your government have unlimited comprehensive financial and social assistance networks in place to prevent you and your family from living in abject poverty or more fatal consequences.
Peace is knowing that even if you struggle and are low-income or poor, it does not automatically mean that your children and grandchildren will share your fate.
Peace is knowing that you can put your faith and trust in your government and officials to protect your person and your economic interests.
Peace is knowing that your children will come home from school and talk about what they did and learned.
Peace is NOT worrying about whether or not your child made it safely to school or is safe at school or could they possibly have had an unexpected or inescapable encounter with the police, school security or criminal elements.
Peace is NOT being born into a poverty paradigm that places you at a nutritional/health, educational and soci0-environmental disadvantage.
Peace is NOT scheduling appointments with psychologists or psychiatrists for you or your loved ones due to PTSD symptoms caused by ongoing violence in your neighborhood.
Peace is NOT having absolutely no faith in your elected officials or your country’s security forces.
Peace is NOT worrying about your basic or universal human rights. Everyday.
In short, peace IS trusting that your universal human rights are recognized, respected, cherished and promoted by people and institutions within your country. Everyday.
Insight into the social security system of a leading social market economy Germany: 2014 Social Security at a Glance
Insight into a capitalist nation’s poverty paradigm The United States: IPS-The-Poor-Get-Prison-Final