Working towards peace and sustainability

Say “Yes!” to Respect. Say “No!” to Trump’s Agenda.

Please Scroll down for info regarding the upcoming rallies and the march.
Perhaps you share the sense that one chapter of our National Nightmare is coming to a close, but another is just beginning? Do you feel stuck in a bad dream you can’t get out of; feeling frozen in place, seeing danger approach but unable to move? 

Well, we at Peaceworks are not asleep at the switch. We are awake, clear of mind and not willing to accept a passive role. Rather, we aim to come together and, to as great an extent as possible, create our shared destiny. And we will do this through active engagement, addressing frontally the challenges we face. And we will reach out to our neighbors and our fellow citizens to build a progressive majority that can turn things around. We invite and encourage you to join us in this effort.

Some have asked, “Why not give Trump a chance?” The answer should be obvious.

First, we have watched this man campaign for a year and a half. We have seen an abusive individual who treats others with profound disrespect. He has the personality of a thin-skinned, self-aggrandizing tyrant. Donald Trump shows zero respect for women. Rather, he objectifies them constantly. He belittles those with disabilities; scapegoats minorities; bullies those who disagree with him; and tries to cow the media into subservience.

Trump launched his campaign with xenophobic ranting about Mexicans being rapists and thieves and nonsensical visions of a Great Wall. He released a list of prospective court nominees that is enough to make any civil libertarian’s skin crawl. He has talked about banning Muslims and now says he’s seriously considering a Muslim registry. He’s claimed that Climate Change—arguably the greatest threat to our survival—is a hoax, and has embraced the sick notion that nuclear weapons proliferation is OK, while endorsing the pursuit of a new nuclear arms race.

But, let us be clear, it is not just his campaign rhetoric or his abusive, disrespectful style, his anti-intellectualism or his grandiosity that troubles us. Rather, it is the people he’s appointed to lead the executive branch of our government and their track records that makes it crystal clear that his agenda is wrong for our nation on just about every front.

While space does not allow a thoroughgoing review of his appointees, we should note that his cabinet, as nominated, is chocked full of extreme views and extreme wealth. It is top-heavy with generals/militarists. And, ironically, after campaigning against Goldman Sachs, he’s appointed three from this financial behemoth to top positions in his administration.

Many Trump appointees have either no experience in the area their agency operates in, or, worse yet, have actively campaigned against the agency’s mission. Several have actually called for abolishing the sector of government they will soon be in charge of, unless their nominations are stopped.

Knowing the positions they embrace and the biases they carry, we can say, from the get-go that a big part of our mission will be actively speaking out against what they are aiming to do. We must convince as many of our elected officials as possible to put the brakes on their efforts to steamroll through so-called “reforms” that actually represent the destruction of so much of what we value and need.

We are talking here about everything from healthcare/ACA, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to the funding of education. We’re looking at huge, windfall tax cuts for the 1% that will leave our government without the funding to pay for essential services. We’re deeply concerned about the possible deportation of millions, dividing families and tearing apart communities.

We’re speaking out against the commitment to dramatically increase military spending, the bellicose approach to some countries including Iran and China, and the misguided promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something almost certain to put the kibosh on any efforts to peacefully settle the conflict there. And, of course, we’re talking about the Climate Crisis and Trump’s stated intention to end the EPA Clean Power Plan and withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

If you’re feeling small, and if reading this leaves you feeling overwhelmed, we understand, but this is no time to throw up our hands and give up. No, not at all. Now is the time when redoubling our efforts is essential. Now is the time for us to be out marching in large numbers. Now is the time to be holding public meetings; to be going to town halls and to the offices of elected officials. Now is the time for door-to-door outreach. Now is the time for public education; for agitation; for organizing; for impressing upon our fellow citizens what it is we truly need and for working night and day to achieve it. Now is the time to build coalitions. Now is the time for activism; for active resistance.

Now is the time to build a culture of resistance and of mutual respect.  Now is the time to embrace and celebrate our diversity. Now is the time to be respectful of nature and the ecological balances. Now is the time to see the worth in all, even the humblest among us. Now is the time to respond to each other with kindness, not derision. Now is the time to respect our neighbors; those down the block, as well as those around the world. Let us be an example to others and, in the process, let us win over those who today support Donald Trump. Let us follow that old adage, “Keep hope alive!”

Let respect, kindness and hope flourish.

See you at the rally!

Solidarity March

 Are you as disturbed as we are by Donald Trump’s appointees and the agenda they are promoting? We sincerely hope you will join us in the weeks and months ahead in taking a stand to oppose their actions.

There will be numerous ways to do this as we move forward, but, to demonstrate, right from the start, our deeply held concerns, we invite you to join Peaceworks and at least 20 co-sponsoring groups in a Solidarity March and Rally that will be held on Saturday, January 21, on the same day as, and in solidarity with, the Women’s March on Washington.

Together we will take a stand to support social and economic justice, public health and safety, inclusion, climate and the environment, peace and our very democracy. Over the coming months we will be working hard to reach out to our neighbors to build as broad a consensus as possible in opposition to an unprecedented assault on virtually everything we cherish and have fought hard for many decades to attain. Our approach will be respectful, but unapologetically in opposition to the direction that the Trump administration and their Congressional allies aim to take us.

Please plan to join us for the Solidarity March and Rally on Saturday, Jan. 21. We will gather between 1-1:30 p.m. at Courthouse Plaza, march to Stephens College and hold an indoor rally featuring speakers, music, tabling and more there.

You can find the details (as well as RSVP and invite others) via the Facebook event if you click HERE.

There will also be a Rally: Inaugurating Resistance to the Trump Agenda. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Traditions Plaza (between the Law School and the Alumni Center on Conley Ave.) on the MU Campus. We encourage those who can make it out Friday to join us for this as well.

The list of co-sponsoring groups to date includes: Columbia Area NOW; Columbia Climate Change Coalition; Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation; Mid-Missouri Peaceworks; Mid-Missourians for Justice in Palestine; Missouri NOW; MDP Women’s Caucus; Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Columbia Chapter; Mizzou Energy Action Coalition; Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense; Native American Support Group; NextGen Climate; OneMic; Osage Group Sierra Club; Our Revolution, Mid-Missouri; Planned Parenthood Great Plains; Protectors of Water and Land-Columbia, MO; Race Matters, Friends; Renew Missouri; Social Action Team of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Mid-Missouri.


Putting Foxes in Charge of the Coop

Many critical issues face our nation today, but arguably none with greater consequence for all future generations than the Climate Crisis. Truly, only nuclear war could lead to greater irreversible damage. And, while nuclear war is still a distinct possibility that must be avoided, climate change is a present reality. It is happening right now, as we write—as you read this—and unless addressed promptly, is likely to result in passing tipping points that will condemn our progeny to a devastated environment, more frequent extreme weather events including super-storms, rising sea levels inundating coastal regions, huge fires, droughts, massive crop failures, hundreds of millions of climate refugees, unprecedented extinctions and more.

We absolutely cannot afford four years of inaction or backtracking on climate.

While many Trump appointments are troubling, we are most disturbed by his picks for key administration positions dealing with climate and energy concerns. Peaceworks urges Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt to do everything in their power to challenge appointees who are clearly both unqualified and disinclined to serve as protectors of our environment and climate.(Click on their names to contact them on-line, or click HERE for more contact info.)

These appointees not only have questionable qualifications in terms of knowledge and experience. They also have established track records of working to oppose the work of the agencies they’ve been tapped to lead.
Pictured here are Scott Pruitt, Rex Tillerson and Rick Perry. Thanks to Common Dreams for the photo.
Topping the list is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. He’s been tapped to head the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency he’s opposed at every turn for years. A climate change skeptic with heavy backing from the fossil fuel industry, Pruitt took the lead in organizing a legal challenge to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

It’s not just the CPP he’s opposed. Pruitt has sued the EPA over soot and smog pollution rules and over limits on emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gases, etc. from power plants.  He’s a close ally of several fossil fuel companies and was exposed for having submitted to the EPA and other Federal agencies, as his own, letters that were actually written by Devon Energy lobbyists. Pruitt is a strong backer of fracking and nearly half of his PAC funding comes from the energy industry. He has made it clear that he seeks to dismantle the EPA’s programs that address the Climate Crisis. These programs, while not nearly adequate, are today the backbone of the American response to climate change. Dismantling them would put the entire Paris Climate Accord in jeopardy.

For the Department of Energy, Trump has chosen former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who, when running for president, famously called for eliminating the DoE, along with two other departments. When asked in a debate, couldn’t recall the name of one department he wanted to shutter. You guessed it, it was the DoE.

Unlike Obama’s DoE heads, both distinguished physicists, Perry has no expertise in the field of energy, nor in the realm of nuclear weapons and waste, which are actually the DoE’s biggest areas of responsibility.

Perry does have a long history of receiving financial support from the fossil fuel industry and he currently serves on the boards of directors of both Sunoco Logistics Partners and Energy Transfer Partners. The latter is the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), in which Donald Trump happens to own stock. Given his deep involvement in fossil fuels, can we really expect Rick Perry to take the lead in moving us to a post-carbon, climate-friendly energy economy?

And then there’s Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee to head the State Department. Here we’re looking at someone who has spent their entire career working for one company, ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, and has served as their CEO for the past ten years.

In 2015 investigative journalists discovered that his company has been aware, since the 1970s, of the role fossil fuels are playing in altering the Earth’s climate, but had suppressed internal research and, at the same time, was uniquely aggressive in funding climate change deniers. On Tillerson’s watch the company has continued to drag its feet, rather than move forward to a post-fossil fuel energy system.

While the Secretary of State doesn’t determine energy policy, Tillerson, who has no public service or diplomatic experience, would be responsible for negotiating climate agreements and trade agreements that involve fossil fuels. Is it really possible for someone who is deeply committed to continuing to explore for and extract more dirty fuels, to recognize and support the need for a rapid phase-out of these climate-altering fuels?

The incoming Trump administration is not just in denial of the crisis we face, but is committed to putting extreme deniers in charge of U.S. energy and climate policy. This is a classic case of putting foxes in charge of the coop and must be opposed for our sake and the sake of future generations. If you share our concerns, we urge you to contact your senators now (Click HERE).