Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson wants to establish a U.S. Department of Peace. Massive in scope, this new department would work to “wage peace” both at home and abroad. The Secretary of Peace heading this new “cabinet-level” department would belong to the National Security Council.
One aspect of the proposal includes the creation of a Peace Academy where students would focus on “peace education” and be required to devote five years to public service post-graduation.
“The Department will create and establish a Peace Academy, modeled after the military service academies, which will provide a 4-year concentration in peace education. Graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution,” Williamson’s plan details.
She lists a number of national and international objectives for this expansive department. Here are some of the goals:
- Teach violence prevention and conflict resolution to America’s school children.
- Effectively treat and dismantle gang psychology.
- Reform our criminal justice system towards a focus on restorative and healing oriented approaches rather than punitive alone.
- Work with local and state governments to help change police culture and the way that police work with our communities, with the goal of fostering improved relations.
- Work with local and state governments to lessen gun violence on a national level.
- Examine how elements of our food supply affect our behaviors.
- Address factors such as drug and alcohol abuse, mistreatment of the elderly, and much more.
- Provide peace-building support to assist governments and communities in attempts to end conflicts, instead of providing military aid which often prolongs conflicts.
- Provide and help coordinate humanitarian assistance around the world to help people and governments get out of their current crises, and have a chance to build peaceful lives in the future.
- Humanitarian assistance may include aid for things like food security, health care, education, women, children and a variety of other types of aid.
Williamson’s website suggests that the new department could potentially decrease government expenses. “Avoiding costly wars abroad and reducing violence in the United States will decrease our federal budget,” her site states.
“Along with the long-term savings that come from implementing this kind of work on a broad scale, there should be few extra immediate costs involved. This department will focus on reallocating existing budgets in more appropriate and coordinated ways to keep, maintain and create sustainable peace,” Williamson’s website says.
She told the Des Moines Register that two percent of the U.S. defense budget could be reallocated. “I could see us taking two percent of the national defense budget at any moment," Williamson said. "It’s a lot of money, it would certainly get things started."
"I’m not wanting to come in and recreate, Williamson told the Register. "I want to come in and re consolidate. That’s an important issue. I’m saying some are doing it right and need a lot more budget. These people should be the most empowered. Peace builders should be on the national security team. They should have a seat at the table."
The Register said that others in American history have proposed having a Department of Peace. Williamson’s “initial interest and involvement with the Department of peace came through Dennis Kucinich’s efforts,” she told the media outlet.
Williamson also wants to develop a Department of Children and Youth. Her proposal for this department suggests “a more expansive array of educational approaches including social and emotional learning.” It also suggests incorporating elements sure to disturb Bible-believing Christians, including “meditation and mindfulness” and “comparative religion (for the sake of spiritual enlightenment and to help ease religious strife).”
The presidential candidate currently polls at just one percent in the RealClearPolitics average.