Department Of Peace or DOP

Recently, Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) proposed a bill to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace. Sources say our congressional rep. Mark Udall (Democrat) supports it.  I traveled to the future to get the scoop: 

Washington D.C. (May 2005) The sun shined brightly in Washington this day. Humans, unable to resolve differences since the beginning of time, are in luck. The new Department Of Peace opened today at a price of eight billion taxpayer dollars. Now that the Department is open, Americans can relax with the knowledge that their money will enable us to resolve differences without the use of armed force.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) conceived the Department in 2001. Public support for the department skyrocketed from 10 percent to 15 percent in 2003, when Americans protesting the Iraq War realized that NPR and the public education system weren’t getting their message out. Back-room political dealers finally established the DOP in 2005, after Democrats agreed to a 35 percent across-the-board tax cut and Republicans agreed to not to beat the Democrats so badly in 2006.

Hard to believe anyone missed the signs: “Bush is the Terrorist, not Saddam,” “Bush is a Child Killer,” “Kill Bush, Not Saddam” and the famous “No Blood for Oil.”

I visited the new Department to speak to Secretary Bud Sparks, America’s Peace Czar. Inside the door labeled DOP I found a gentleman in his mid-fifties sitting at a desk surrounded by boxes. He was on the phone. He held his hand over the receiver and gave me a quizzical look. “I'm looking for Bud Sparks,” I said.

“I'm Bud Sparks,” the man replied. I was startled to find myself face to face with America’s Man of Peace. He stood about six foot tall and wore a tie that didn’t match his shirt. He had a ponytail. He raised his finger. “Just a second.”

“You have to take deep breaths to find your happy place,” he said into the phone. “Make sure you do this before you hit Esther next time or I'm going to have to call the police.” He smiled confidently, said goodbye and hung up.

“That guy just can’t stop beating his wife,” Sparks said. “He needs to work on his breathing technique and feel the good vibrations around him.”

“You guys handle domestic disputes?”

“Domestic violence is something we need to understand so we can stop it. There’s no reason anyone should be mad enough hit his or her spouse. Breathing deep is great anger management. It’s a well-documented technique.”

I looked around the office, wondering what I was smelling. Patchouli, maybe? The phone rang.

“I’ll let you listen in on a call.” Unlike other presidential cabinet positions, Sparks was more than willing to share his departmental operations with me. He hit the speaker button. “Department of Peace.”

“Secretary Sparks, this is Kim Jong-il.” I raised my eyebrows. Maybe there was something to the DOP if the famously insane dictator of North Korea was calling. “I have nuclear weapons, you know?”

“Now, now, Kim,” Sparks said with a smile. “You know we don’t like nuclear weapons. Hell, if it were up to me, we’d eliminate all weapons and cut defense spending in half.”

“Good, “ crackled the voice from the speaker. “I blow you up then.”

“Oh, you don’t mean that, do you, Kim?” Silence. “Come on Kim. Breathe deep.” Silence. Click. Dial tone.

“Must not have wanted to talk,” I said.

“He’s tough to understand,” Sparks said. “But we shouldn’t react to his threats of violence with more violence. We should learn about him and understand him and what makes him say mean things like that. We must have done something to make him mad, and we need to stop it. Just because he aims missiles at our allies and at us doesn’t mean he’s really going to use them. It’s all very complicated. It takes scholars, like me, to understand it.”

 “So how did the idea of a Department of Peace become a bill?” I asked, expecting the ‘70s guy to tell me it was birthed in an East Coast college dorm room over a joint.

“We felt that peace protests in 2003 didn’t get our message out,” he replied. “The Department of Peace levels the playing field, so to speak. The eight billion we’re getting from the taxpayers helps us to send scholars into schools to educate the kids that it’s the US, and not dictators, who are evil. We also print these great brochures about Peace Management. With government help, we have a chance to compete with FOX News and talk radio.”

I picked up a brochure. Inside was a list of techniques recommended by Peace Doctors to enhance the Peace Experience:

  1. Breathe deep. (Deep breathing deep seems to be pretty important to these people.)
  2. Smile. (Okay.)
  3. Hug a tree. (Oh, hell).

I closed the brochure and contemplated my tax dollars at work.

 “So it was good for your Department that Bush won re-election in 2004?” I asked the pony-tailed one.

His eyes bugged out and his faced turned red. He stood up, kicked one of the boxes scattering brochures throughout the room. The phone rang, but he didn’t answer. He turned his back to me and looked at the wall.

“Breathe deep dude,” I said. “Breathe really deep.”

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