Warning: the following piece was written by a songwriter. It contains blatant idealism, naïve optimism, and graphic hope for the entire world.
The Nobel Peace Prize was initially funded by the sale of weapons. What if, instead of maintaining modern weaponry, we engaged in creative acts of peace-making?
“The United States spends $100 million dollars per day maintaining nuclear warheads.”
“More than 40% of the budget of the United States is spent on military expenditures.”
Here in the West, the wealthier we become, the more we spend on weapons to “guarantee” our freedom and security. When I initially learned how much we splurge on military expenditures, I wanted to withhold my taxes. I don't want my tax dollars, which I would otherwise gladly pay, going to something so destructive. In my heart of hearts, I really want to live nonviolently.
But I, too, have a dream. I believe that there is another world that is whispering among the cacophony of consumerism and self-centered security. I believe that when we learn to love our neighbors (enemies?) like we love ourselves, there just may be freedom for all. I believe that those who have been given much have a great responsibility towards those with less.
I have done nothing to earn the vast amount of blessings in my life. I had no choice in the biological irrelevancies with which we judge and evaluate the masses (color of skin, height, weight, appearance, etc.). I did not actively choose my gifts and talents, I merely discovered them along the journey.
For one day, I would like to ask my government to stop, cease, desist. For one day, please spend no money on weapons of mass destruction and give me a chance to change the world. My dream is simple, and I believe it would bring longer and more effective life-change than 24 hours of cleaning and routine maintenance.
Give 100 organizations $1,000,000 along with a note encouraging them to continue their work in spreading life, hope, and peace.
I have my list of organizations. I don’t personally benefit from any of them. Though I’d love to give my church a million bucks, I left it off the list. Some organizations provide water for the thirsty. Some organizations provide hope for the hopeless. And one is a bookstore in the middle of nowhere that’s changing the world through the books it sells.
However, I would short-change one organization $3,000 (the equivalent of a couple of seconds of military expenses). Half the money would be used for the recording of a CD, and the other half would be used to create a website where the songs could be shared, downloaded, and distributed for free. After all, every revolution needs its music.
Be the change, that you wish to see.
Be the change, that this world needs.
Goudzwaard, Bob and Mark Vander Vennen and David Van Heemst. Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises. Baker Publishing: Grand Rapids, MI. 2007.