Last week an institution called Youth With A Mission made headlines because of tragic violence at one of its training centers in Colorado. While reading news accounts, I came upon this:
"Youth With a Mission was started in 1960 and now has 1,100 locations with 16,000 full-time staff. Begun in 1960 after a 20-year-old college student said he experienced a vision from God, Youth With a Mission has grown into one of the world's most formidable Christian missions groups. The group, characterized by a decentralized structure and reputation for attracting zealous young people, equips missionaries to spread the Christian faith around the world..."
"Darv Smith, director of a Youth With a Mission center in Boulder, said people ranging from their late teens to their 70s undergo a 12-week course that prepares them to be missionaries. He said the center trains about 300 people a year. Staffers are usually former missionaries themselves..."
Imagine if we, as anti-war activists, were this motivated to advance our set of values, and had gotten started at the same time, which was concurrent with Eisenhower's call to action. Imagine if we considered ourselves to be missionaries for Peace. Imagine if we had 1,100 offices and training centers, and 16,000 full-time staff.
Now imagine our federal budget at less than half what it is today. Imagine an economy unburdened by the inflationary pressures, debt, monopoly, bureaucracy, and non-productivity of military spending that is currently more than the rest of the world spends combined. Imagine local economic and political structures that are not dependent upon, and therefore forced to promote, arms manufacturing and military bases to sustain their local employment and tax bases, and by extension, to also maintain the tendency towards a violent foreign policy that justifies their use. Imagine a public education system that is not forced to accept military recruitment of its children as a condition of its budget. Imagine a world with 130 countries that don't have over 700 American military bases, arsenals of nuclear weapons, and over a half a million American armed and support personnel within their borders, along with the fears, dependencies, and enmities that derive from this global garrison.
Imagine it, and work for it, because if we had acted upon our vision the way the founders of Youth With A Mission had acted upon theirs, this is the America, and the world, we'd have right now. And this is the America, and the world, we may still create if we put our noses to the grindstone and emulate the best working models of community organizing. Please read both "How To Get Started" posts below, and please, let's get started.
Please visit www.eisenhowerproject.org. Send this along to your friends, and contact me at email@example.com.