Opinion: Support human needs, not a war economy

Diane Keefe, left, and Mary Therese “Missy” Conrad march Saturday in South Norwalk. (Contributed)

A small group of brightly dressed people with umbrellas stood with a banner Saturday on the Stroffolino Bridge, despite continuous rain and an inaccurate notice via email from the League of Women Voters saying that the march was canceled, and then walked along Washington and Main Streets chanting slogans like:

  • “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.”
  • “No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here.”
  • “Not $54 billion, Donald. Not $15 billion Congress. Not a penny more. No more war.”


That last chant described the theme of the march. The group objects to the United States government’s budget priority of a military budget of $550 billion (not counting additional spending on Afghanistan, Yemen and other undeclared wars), bigger than the military budgets of the next largest seven countries combined.

The United States spends $31 billion a year to maintain the United States nuclear weapons arsenal while straining to find the resources to provide quality affordable housing, public education, and humanitarian aid to the millions of refugees fleeing war in the Middle East and Africa.

Nuclear disarmament is not a partisan issue. Even Henry Kissinger is on record in favor of nuclear disarmament.

The marchers today support more spending on diplomacy, human needs, and infrastructure instead of the war economy.

Paul Cantor attended, representing the Kemper Human Rights Foundation, along with members of the Norwalk area Quaker meeting (located in Wilton) and members of the Humanists and Free Thinkers of Fairfield County, another co-sponsor of the event.

The group launched a petition drive calling on Mayor Harry Rilling or Common Council President John Igneri to submit a request to join Mayors for Peace, a global organization representing 7,000 cities in more than 100 countries. Stamford and Fairfield are among the Connecticut cities and towns that joined Mayors for Peace years ago.

While Gov. Dannel Malloy announced proposed cuts to the HUSKY children’s health program because of looming state government deficits, the Republican-controlled Congress and Oval Office threaten cuts to programs supporting health and the environment.  Spending on nuclear weapons drains resources from our communities’ most important needs.

The group assembled today recalled the original purpose of Mother’s Day, a call for peace.

Virginia Auster displays a Julia Ward Howe quote. (Contributed)

As Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic declared in describing the holiday in the 1800’s, “From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm, Disarm.’”

How prescient she seems now when the impacts of climate change cause floods, droughts, and massive human suffering and our nation is squandering tens of billions on weapons that would make land uninhabitable if they were ever used.  Mothers, as usual, are calling on all of us to do the right thing-to protect the earth and vulnerable people around the world.]

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

The marchers have a positive vision. They call upon U.S. political leaders at all levels to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons as a needed step to make the whole world safer.

Diane Keefe is married to Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. Board Chairman John Levin.


4 responses to “Opinion: Support human needs, not a war economy”

  1. Bryan Meek

    At last, the 8 year vacation from war protesting is over. And Hillary was so close to extending it another 4.

  2. Mike McGuire

    You should be protesting the war on poverty, now in its 5th decade. A war that won’t be won because it makes to much money for those who wage it. Very similar to our war on drugs, war on educational mediocrity, etc.

  3. Bob Welsh

    I admire anyone who stands in wind-driven rain on a Saturday in support of her beliefs.

  4. Donna

    While we’re at it, can we all agree to declare war on Breast Cancer Awareness? Because I’m pretty sure pink catcher’s masks, bats and socks cost the Yankee a game last night. Maybe women should be protesting the monetization of everything, including women’s fear of cancer and real concerns about military spending.

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