Last week I saw this bumper sticker on a car belonging to a retired science teacher:
Great idea, but where would we get the money? Well, if the U. S. Congress re-appropriated 7% (or $30 billion) of the $419 billion Defense Budget for Education, we could cover tuition and fees for all students now enrolled in public colleges and universities.
I suspect it isn’t an accident that we spend half of our discretionary budget keeping our War Machine well oiled compared to only 6% for Education. Where would we get our Cannon Fodder if not for lack of education?
In my conversations with people, I find that the teachers and librarians lead the cause for peace while the under-educated are more likely to support the war. Ironically, many young people enlist in the military expressly for the educational benefits. The percentage of college graduates who enlist is miniscule according to the U. S. Army.
What can we do? We can begin helping the next generation educate themselves on the topic of war and peace. Towards that end, Alison Clement and Bruce Jensen, a pair of concerned librarians, two people who care about kids and about peace, created the Webpage “Weapons of Mass Instruction – Anti-War Books for Young People” with reading lists for all age groups. I noticed some of my favorite stories and authors on the Young, and Formerly Young, Adults List including – All Quiet on the Western Front, Slaughterhouse Five, Catch-22, Howard Zinn and Jimmy Carter.
If we’re going to be leaders of the “free world,” let’s arm the next generation with knowledge rather than depleted uranium and state-of-the-art prisoner interrogation techniques. With knowledge comes the power of compassion. This is the way to make our dreams of peace come true.