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  • | 4:00 a.m. May 21, 2009
  • Sarasota
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Think about it: What has Gov. Charlie Crist accomplished as governor that makes a defining case for him to be Florida’s next U.S. senator?

You might say the same thing about former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the Miami Republican. But, at least with Rubio, there’s a defining philosophy: He absolutely stands for limited government, low taxes and more freedom.

+ Department of Peace?

When the names Mayor Richard Clapp and Congressman Dennis Kucinich appear in support of the same legislation, you really have to wonder about the guy sitting in Sarasota’s mayoral seat.

Clapp — as well as newly elected Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell and veteran Commissioner Fredd Atkins (Aaahh!!) — voted Monday night in favor of a resolution showing the city of Sarasota’s support for … get this: The creation of a U.S. Department of Peace.

Don’t misinterpret. We want world peace just as much as every Miss Universe contestant.

But this effort — led by kooky Ohio Congressman Kucinich since 2001 — is the epitome of “governmentitis” run amok and emblematic of how politicians at all levels have lost their total grip on what the role of government is.

Our Founding Fathers were strident advocates of limited government. But in our lifetime, it has been axiomatic that as soon as anyone is elected — be he Republican, Democrat, Independent, Greenie or whatever — he cannot resist the urge to “do something” — to expand the size, reach and force of government.

The Department of Peace is this, as they say, in spades. Talk about the ultimate in “community organizing.”
Indeed, when you read just the preamble to the legislation — H.B. 808, which is making its way through four House committees — you can envision a government monster spreading like an unstoppable, gooey blob. Inevitably, if this department becomes part of the U.S. government, you can envision it filtering all the way down to becoming institutionalized as an entrenched bureaucracy in every county and municipal government.

Count on it. There’ll be national Peace Day holidays. There’ll be national conferences — all taxpayer supported — sending government bureaucrats and community organizers from near and far to learn how government can implement conflict-resolution “programs” in our communities and schools. It will become another fiscal abyss.

No wonder many Americans feel so hopeless now. We are overpowered day after day by news of one initiative after another that injects government further into our skin, psyche and lives. While Mayor Clapp, Congressman Kucinich and the others supporting the Department of Peace see this as an honorable, worthy effort, it reminds us of the babysitter who made the cake.

When the mother and father returned from their night out, they walked into a home that was a tornadic disaster — toys strewn everywhere, furniture out of place, food and milk spilled all over.

As the parents surveyed the disaster, the babysitter twinkled her eyes and smiled. “I thought I’d welcome you home. Look,” she said, pointing to the top of stove, “I made you a cake.”

Get a grip, commissioners. There’s much more serious work to be done — the Van Wezel, Ed Smith Stadium, levels of neighborhood policing, preparing for the next budget shortfall, creating a framework for the redevelopment of the North Trail, strategizing how to maintain or lower tax levels.

Leave the Department of Peace to Congressman Kucinich.

Establishes a Department of Peace, which shall be headed by a Secretary of Peace (Secretary). Sets forth the mission of the Department, including:
(1) Cultivation of peace as a national policy objective; and
(2) Development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful conflict resolution, and structured conflict mediation. Establishes in the Department:
(1) The Office of Peace Education and Training;
(2) The Office of Domestic Peace Activities;
(3) The Office of International Peace Activities;
(4) The Office of Technology for Peace;
(5) The Office of Arms Control and Disarmament;
(6) The Office of Peaceful Coexistence and Nonviolent Conflict Resolution;
(7) The Office of Human Rights and Economic Rights; and
(8) The Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Peace … Directs the Secretary to encourage citizens to celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace on a Peace Day.


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