COLUMBIA — Members of the Mid-Missouri Peace Coalition held a gathering Wednesday to declare their independence from a war economy.
About 50 to 60 people showed up in front of the Boone County Courthouse for the event. Many of them were waving different incarnations of the American flag, including some from the time of the American Revolution. Three were wearing colonial outfits, including wigs and tricorn hats.
Large white canvas sheets were painted with slogans in different colors, including "Peace Economy = Sustainability" and "Peace is Patriotic! No war."
The event promoted a "peace economy," which prioritizes spending money on defending the U.S. rather than having a military presence in other countries, event organizer Mark Haim said. He said in a peace economy a nation should focus on investing in its people, the environment and education.
Haim is the director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, a member of the Mid-Missouri Peace Coalition. During the event he was dressed in full colonial garb and gave a speech about the flawed priorities of U.S. war expenses.
"Military expenditures are squandered on bases thousands of miles from our shores in order to maintain dominance — not for the defense of our country,” Haim said.
Keeping with the Fourth of July theme, copies of a "Declaration of Independence from a War Economy" were distributed. This document included excerpts from the real Declaration of Independence and original writing from Haim and Mariana Morales Quinones, a member of the Peaceworks board of directors.
This document was typed in cursive script and emblazoned with the title, "Declare Independence!" It was signed by representatives of the various groups involved with the Mid-Missouri Peace Coalition, including Grass Roots Organizing, Veterans for Peace and Occupy CoMo.
"The three goals are to agitate, educate and raise awareness about the peace economy and peace in the world," Morales Quinones said.