Recently I was reading about a candidates' forum held at a conservative Christian convention that was attended by 1000 delegates from groups throughout the country. Every major presidential candidate appeared. There are similar conventions hosted by the NRA, the AMA, the NAACP, the ABA, the American Legion, trade associations, labor federations, and numerous other groups.
There has never been a candidate, major or minor, appearing at a peace group convention, let alone the whole crowd of them. Why is that? We need only look to the simplest of answers: no such thing exists. No such thing has ever existed.
There is no peace movement in this country. There are no 1000 delegates from local organizations bound together by a common agenda who could attend and put hard questions to candidates, nor is there any organized manner by which meaningful blocs of votes are committed or removed based upon the responses. Peace proponents do not participate in the multi-faceted parliamentary process that drives elections to decision-making posts in our republican (small "r") democracy.
We must create ourselves. We must force the need for responsiveness to our beliefs within the existing political process, as so many other significant organizations do. In order to do so, we must create 1000 well-populated local peace service organizations, who will send over 1000 delegates to a hotel in New York City or Washington, and make it clear that any candidate who doesn't have a working plan to promote our beliefs, or who fails to appear, or both, will lose access to a gigantic bloc of single-issue voters.
We kick-start the development of real potency for the bloc by highlighting the ability to determine the outcome of Electoral College votes in so-called "swing states," that is, those not overwhelmingly tending towards either major party. That means we use our limited resources to build and populate our peace service groups in the swing states first, although not at the expense of getting off the ground everywhere peace-proponents live and associate.
It's not complicated. It's not expensive. It must be done. Start your local chapter of the National Peace Service today. Scroll down to "How To Get Started" and "How To Get Started, Part 2" for the basics of how to start and operate your group.
If you have questions, or better yet, to let me know how you're doing with your start-up, please post a comment to this blog, and/or send me email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please forward the address www.commonplans.blogspot.com far and wide.
We can make this happen. We must make this happen.