Minnesota delegation at the Department of Peace conference
I went as a Department of Peace skeptic, but I was convinced of the value of the whole approach by many presenters, and campaign Chair Marianne Williamson. I am also convinced that Congress doesn't have the time and staff it requires to do effective oversight of USAID, so small steps like simply increasing funding on the foreign aid side does not address the need for a more wholistic approach and a determination to use non-violent intervention to prevent the conflicts that can be avoided. The domestic approach to addressing shool violence, domestic violence, and our militaristic culture also seemed quite apriopriate and rational when it was presented by the professionals and academics in some of the panels. THe strategy for lobbying and building a larger grassroots movement was really very powerful, and I am glad I got to see that. I can help other groups figure out how to do similar things, for free speech and civil liberties, or environmental issues, now.
We just missed the one minute speeches on Tuesday but did get to sit in the gallery and watch a presentation on a bill to create a memorial on Bainbridge Island, WA out of the dock that Japanese-Americans were shipped to internment camps from. The hassle and delay in getting through to the gallery was frustrating (multiple metal detectors, have to store all cameras, take belts off, etc.). This delay meant I did have an opportunity to converse with a couple of interesting yoga students, a guy from Portland, and a girl from New York, that were also there for the Department of Peace effort. The girl asked if any of us could read palms, and I played along while she told me about her new business plan. We left the gallery before I could get her e-mail, but she has mine. I hope she e-mails me, as I would be happy to trade my skills in internet promotion for her new business for a refresher course on the yoga that I once knew better and would like to relearn and know more of.
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