Since 2015, I have been part of the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s (FCNL) National Advocacy team representing Portland, Oregon District 3.
FCNL advocates receive advanced training and support to make an impact by building relationships and dialoguing with our elected representatives and their staff in district offices.
Our current focus is on bi-partisan legislation for reform of our criminal justice system — a system which is costly, ineffective, and too heavy-handed on non-violent drug offenses.
However, domestic social justice legislation is not our only focus, as we place a strong emphasis on foreign policy and peacebuilding.
And recently, I was joined by my Shift Network colleagues Stephen Dinan, Ben Hart and Philip Hellmich on a trip to the FCNL annual meeting in Washington, DC, where more than 400 people from all corners of the country gathered to lobby our members of Congress on peacebuilding issues:
- After 14 years and $8.36 million dollars per hour, our military action in Iraq and Afghanistan has not worked. There’s more instability and dissent in the region — not less.
- Terrorism by disenfranchised young men is growing.
- There are more than 60 million displaced people in the world (MORE than the 45 million shortly after WWII). Syrian refugees are continuing to pour over borders while the US is debating whether we can take a handful.
FCNL has long used the moniker: “War is Not the Answer.” But if not, what is?
We discovered that although these are complex socio-political realities which will require long-term transpartisan dialogue and solutions, we can contribute to shifts...
Here are 3 practical peacebuilding efforts we can all support TODAY:
1. Support the Atrocities Prevention Board (AFB). For a fraction of the cost ($50 billion vs. $500 billion plus for war), trained multi-lateral peacebuilders are on the ground in hot-spots working to de-escalate conflicts before they start. There is extensive data on how and why this works.
2. Repeal the AUMF and return the responsibility to Congress (and the people) to authorize war or not. Shortly after 9/11, Congress handed President Bush a blank check for war via the 2001 Authorization for the use of Military Force (AUMF). This has effectively taken the decision of when to wage war out of Congress’ hands.
3. Defeat legislation to block Syrian refugees. Urge your elected officials to welcome war-displaced people. Welcome those who have been impacted by US military actions.
And if you don’t agree with any of these, engage in meaningful transpartisan dialogue with your elected officials to support other non-violent, non-military solutions.
We hope that the powerful tools and resources that we provide offer you the peace and focus necessary to take meaningful action toward making our world livable for humanity far into the future
We need love… and we need solutions.
We need compassion... and we need to work steadily toward ending violence and war as a means to resolving conflict.
The Shift Network is committed to doing both — to nurturing our inner world and working to ensure the survival of our planet.
To take meaningful action, call or write your member of Congress TODAY using these easy-to-use FCNL tools. For our international friends, please consider using FCNL’s resources to engage with your government in whatever way is most effective.
PS – Please let us know what action you’re taking today by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sharing in the comments section below.