By World BEYOND War and Veterans For Peace, June 30, 2020
While a presidential retweet has used a video from The Villages in Florida to stir up more trouble, two organizations based in The Villages, with large memberships there, take a different perspective.
Al Mytty of World BEYOND War – Central Florida, and Larry Gilbert of Veterans For Peace – The Villages, both residents of The Villages and organizers of many well-attended events there, released this statement on Tuesday:
World BEYOND War-Central Florida and Veterans For Peace-The Villages support nonviolent change and resolution to conflict. We support the calls for an end to systemic racism and the need for foundational change in the United States to achieve justice and truly equal opportunity. We deplore the vitriol and anger spewing from people’s mouths and the actions promoting violent exchanges. Violence in voice and in action will beget more violence. Dr. King and others taught us that long ago. Not everyone learned.
Black Lives Matter. Our country has too long a history of racism, and we are way too slow in addressing the changes needed. We can take down statues and claim racism will end when we have a change of heart. But that emotion, and even sympathy, will not be enough.
A fundamental shift in priorities can provide health care, educational opportunity, criminal justice and police reform, humane immigration policy, sensible gun control, peace training, participatory democracy, immigration reform, parental leave, adequate daycare, alternative energy, improved infrastructure, solutions to the vast financial inequality, adequate housing, improved mental health and substance use disorder services, affordable transportation, international justice and arms control, an effective and compassionate foreign policy.
But our country squanders its resources on a bloated budget for military contractors and militarism around the globe that makes more enemies, and makes us less secure. Meanwhile, worldwide pandemics, climate crisis, cybersecurity, and other threats are not addressed. The resources are there. A simple 10% cut in the budget for war and war preparation will free up $74 billion. We’ll still be spending far more than all our supposed adversaries combined. Far more should be shifted from war to peace.
Then we can look for real security, a reduction in violent conflict, a more unified nation where it would be true that all lives matter.