Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Partisan politics needs more peace

Partisan politics has positive and negative impacts. For those that are deeply engaged in politics, they have a wide understanding that they are acting in a manner which will have a positive impact. For example the people that are leading Boko Haram, Taliban, Islamic State groups and the many organized crime groups around the world, they believe that they are balancing out the power of good and evil. Taking two other examples are the actions of Russia in regards to Ukraine and the Republic of the United States with Iraq. In each case the bottom line reason has been to ultimately achieve peace and stability in those regions as well as in the home countries and the world. Not everyone is in agreement that peace and stability is the ultimate goal. Power and control has often been cited as the main goal in objection to peace and stability. The debate is widely written, talked about and violently being fought over. People are being killed in order to make their voice heard as they debate this topic. In the most simplistic manner, the moment you decide to take up the physical fight to the point of killing another person, you have given up on peace and stability. Such actions are about power and control not peace and stability. Sadly, the person that does take such actions will still believe they are doing what is best for peace and stability. We have known for thousands of years that an eye for an eye justice is destructive policy. Such policy is built upon revenge, hatred and misguided equality punishment ideology. In all seriousness, to change this ideology which has brought us unrest in Ukraine, war in Syria and destruction of Iraq, leaders must be willing to peacefully stand up to those who speak and act violently. Yes this will put such a person in harms way with a great possibility of being killed themselves. If such a reality scares you then you know you are not the person to lead a peaceful and stable society. Nelson Mandela had to go to prison to realize that point. The founder of Christianity lived this exact point to his death. Such courage is rare. Often courage is emulated/exalted with acts of violence in hopes to obtain peace and stability - there is no greater act of hypocrisy. For each of us we need to denounce those that continue to believe in such hypocrisy. Any leader that tells you violence and killing are acceptable is unfit to lead. Peaceful partisanship is the partisan politics version which is in dire need of support. Leaders that are entrenched in fear and believe peace/stability is found through violence have enough support.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Transitions of war and peace

Efforts to organize society takes a great deal of energy. Formulating a transition to a new government has an added challenge since the idea of government dawned on our existence. Such challenges and efforts have been in great demand lately as we seek to understand the many stresses of the world. At some point between the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s the world went blind to a great many things. I think everyone crumbled upon the possibility of peace. There was so much hope and of course that meant a new world, an unknown world. Instead of pressing on into that new realm of reality, everyone fell back to what they knew. Wars sprang up across the globe and many economic schemes were founded during these times. However the reality of peace is still there and for some the need to find new answers has produced answers. Peace encompasses our total selves and everything outside of the self. As we seek personal peace we often seek social peace and order. Socially, in short we seek the perfect form of governance. In reality everyone is their own person and has the capacity do what ever they feel the desire to do. With that, there is the spectrum of attitudes and actions we see daily being waged by ourselves and others. No matter what larger social umbrella you may adhere to, these personal attitudes and actions are based upon your own individual governance desires. Every system of religion or politics has individuals who are peaceful icons as well as the icons of evil. No matter what laws exist, each of us acts according to their very own personal set of laws. What happens in a situation where laws come in conflict? At such a point a new understanding should be formulated for that very situation. In some circumstances an example of failed understanding is war, in other situations there is a stalemate. During these times of conflict a transition is being made. In a peaceful environment discussions are held to reach common ground, common understanding, common path to reach a common goal. With the absent of efforts to find commonalities conflicts become entrenched, worsen and each side bolsters their appetite for revenge. When such situations occur peace is rarely understood as possible. In reality peace is always possible, if the courage is there to allow it. For entire societies that experience conflict there is a deeper need for strong leaders to embrace peace. Such leadership has not been there for many in the Middle East. Due to this lack of leadership the entire world is now a battle ground. The world is facing a number of groups seeking change and the method to cause change is violence. Even though there is a global battle, the battle is very much person to person. Each of us must work to find peace within and with each other. This is the only way to end the global violence because for those that act violently, they can only act out against the people they live with each day. This is the transition each of us has to decide upon. Each of us wants peace now we have a great deal of work to obtain peace.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Everyone needs a voice

Rebuilding society is always a mash up of ideology. In essence this mash up is why wars are fought and why violent conflicts rage on for centuries. There is no way of getting around the heated discussions of social order and governance. However the main piece of such arguments are always seeking what is best for all. Within that understanding there is a number of phrases which have come to be in recent years. These phrases are negotiated governance, hybrid governance and other longer terms such as governance of relatively self-governing networks. Each of these phrases talks about how societies can manage through the difficult issues while keeping general peace. Every society endures this balance act. Some fall apart into war more often than others. As we study the methods of governance there is a reality which is becoming quite clear. This reality is that the system of governance is rarely the main source of social destruction. The main source of destruction rests with the people who operate the systems. For example it is often stated that the best leader/form of government is a benevolent dictator. When a society comes to a point when war and violence ends and the process to the formation of government begins, there is always an unease as to how the government is to be set up. This is the continuation of the mash up of ideology and the unending discussion of how governance will work. We can play with the style of governance all we want but if the same people are put in place, expect the same results. With that, it is not the system that needs to change, it is the ideology and therefore the people who are operating the system that needs to be changed. Also we must understand that no government can operate without the agreement of society. Even though that is true, the leaders must work to keep people engaged, informed and understand a desire to have each one non-violently engaged in the political process. Each person needs to have a voice and as the structures of governance are built that voice will erode. How to lessen that erosion is imperative for each person to feel they matter. In most cases of post conflict peacebuilding the voice of the individual is of great importance. The first hurdle is to come up with an agreeable ratio for representation. The lower that ratio is the greater the involvement an individual has because they feel they matter. Any method which increases the ratio has a long term impact of lower civic engagement. To have a low representation ratio does make the job of those in government more challenging. However the impact for society to have as low a ratio as possible will be a more engaged society. In practice we find that over time those who represent the people will seek to increase the ratio. The reasons are based upon a more efficient government. The reality is that efficiency is no substitute for the person who will lose their voice. As each step is made to increasing the ratio, that individual who lost their voice will see society one step closer to a dictatorship. Why has the increased ratio taken place, because those who are chosen to do the job can no longer handle the tasks they must perform. This is when efficiency is used to streamline the decision making process (dictatorship philosophy). The entire society must lose their voice because a small group can not handle their job. This situation is exactly what transpired in Libya, Iraq and Syria in recent years. With the evolution of peace, all of these situations must be understood. As prosperity sets in many people will forget the need to have a deeply rooted governance system which is engaging to each individual, in a peaceful manner. Such a job is not easy as each person will have their own thoughts yet to take that persons voice away is an even greater harm. Thus the need to change the people not the systems of governance.