Wednesday, June 8, 2011

National Days Revisioning Project

Dick Bennett 6-8-11
     A central tenet of behavioral psychology is that people are what they do.  Publics therefore can be conditioned to behave in certain ways by having them act in those ways.    We are nurtured by our family and church and school to accept or reject the options we encounter.    Gradually by repetition we become the persons we are   Indoctrination is so successful a method of training that it works even in short periods if intense enough.
     The most obvious example is military basic training, where recruits are transformed in a short time from their family and religious values to warrior values, including killing.   Reinforcement by group repetition of actions is fundamental to this psychology.   Have the recruits march, sing, salute, shoot together and soon they will be changed into warriors.  
        But that success would be more difficult had it not been prepared for.   The nation prepares its youth for war in many ways.   One is its National Days.   Many of those days—such as Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day—celebrate the military as an institution and its soldiers.    Year after year, the nation memorializes its wars and warriors.  The national anthem is played and sung, the US Flag flies, and speeches are spoken.    The Pentagon spends several billion dollars each year to recruit troops, but they would have to spend much more were martial values not constantly reinforced throughout our society.    We know it works; for example, military officers poll always among the highest in public regard.
        If we are to recreate our Imperial National Security USA we must and we can change behavior of its citizens.   We can reconstitute ourselves step by step, changing our institutions to promote peace instead of war.   We can end Empire; remove the 800 military bases in 80 countries; convert the trillion dollars for military aggression to human needs.   We can stop US permanent war against people, species, and the earth.
        Step by step.   We can change the rituals that reinforce the patriotism of armed force or are complicit in violence.   We can do that.  In fact, it is already being done.  Groups have called for a re-naming of Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day and Memorial Day as a Day of Mourning.     We can re-name and re-envision all of the National Days that encourage nationalism and wars.   Here’s how it is done:  
Feb. 14 Standing on the Side of Love Day (formerly Valentine’s Day)

May, 2nd Sunday: Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day for Peace (Mother’s Day)

May 21, 2011: Peace Movement Day  (Armed Forces Day) (3rd Sat. in May)

May, last Monday:  Day of Mourning for Victims of Wars (Memorial Day)

June 14:  Liberty and Justice for All Day (Flag Day)

June, 3rd Sunday:  Father’s for Peace Day  (Father’s Day)

September 11 (9-11):  Peaceful Tomorrows Day (Patriot Day)

Oct.  2nd Monday: Indigenous Peoples Day (Columbus Day):

Nov. 11: Unity Day   (Veterans Day)

November: Fourth Thursday:  National Day of Gratitude and Atonement (Thanksgiving)

December 7:   Pacific War Day (Pearl Harbor Day)

     Of course each must be explained and justified.  That’s part of the process of change.  Accept no Day automatically; warriors want uncritical minds.  As a start I have written and compiled Newsletters (go to and click on Archive: Periodicals)  and a Blog (It's the War Department, scroll down to the latest Index)  on all of these Days.    Engage in the revisioning with me.

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