"Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it." ~ Thomas Jefferson
Last year 106.5 million people watched the Super Bowl, according to a Nielsen estimate. It is predicted that over 110 million people worldwide will tune into this weekend's Super Bowl.
When I was an economic hit man living in Boston, I was a Patriots fan. I love playing sports, was offered a soccer scholarship in college, and still jog, practice martial arts, and play an occasional set of tennis. But these days, I'm increasingly concerned over how much time, energy, passion, and money are devoted to sports. Imagine if our nation -- and much of the rest of the world -- invested those efforts into creating a sustainable, just, and peaceful world!
It's not the Super Bowl game that bothers me; rather, it's the way it distracts so many people from taking actions to make the world a better place for my grandson and all his sisters and brothers around the planet. What would happen if this power to reach such vast audiences was tapped to create a Super Bowl of Peace? (Note: the assumption here is that a peaceful world would also be one that is sustainable, just, and prosperous for all, because without those conditions, people are not likely to live peacefully.)
Sports has become a multibillion dollar business of excess. We hero-worship athletes who perform tasks that do nothing to alleviate poverty and suffering but do raise individual hopes of fame and riches throughout ghettos (false hopes for all but a very tiny fraction of those populations). Millions of young people tune in, wearing football jerseys and helmets, to watch their idols battle on the field of glory -- only to become disillusioned when those heroes fall from grace to various scandals. Billions of dollars are spent to underwrite athletics in our schools, while at the same time we allow politicians to cut back academic curriculum and programs in art, music, literature, and drama -- programs that throughout history have been the engines for advancing human dignity.
Instead of further bemoaning the sports gridiron, I would like to offer you a two-part challenge.
1. Take it upon yourself to envision the future we can materialize if we demand school curriculum aimed at studying and promoting the means for achieving peace. Imagine the results if every dollar spent on sports was matched with an equal investment in such programs - or better still, doubled, tripled. . .
2. Ask yourself: What can I do beginning on Super Bowl Sunday to make the above happen? What else can I do to help our world spend less energy on sports and more energy on bringing about world peace? What specific actions do I commit to taking - immediately and for the rest of my life?
If you do decide to watch the playoffs and the Super Bowl, I urge you to devote the same amount of time to supporting peace. Call friends, join organizations, send emails, write articles -- take actions that appeal to you.
One easy action is to sign petitions. You can find several here.
Please share this link with your social network. How about making it your personal goal to get at least 10 signatures on at least one petition. One hundred would be even better!
Let's join together to envision an international annual competition to determine which country has done the most to foster a peaceful world, a true Super Bowl of Peace. Let's put that on TV, with all the pageantry, energy, time, and passion that we will see around the upcoming event. Let's drive our version of the Super Bowl into the end zone of global consciousness. Let's insist that business and political leaders everywhere understand just how serious we are about creating change and empowering a new non-violent world for ourselves and our grandchildren.
Think of what a beautiful place this planet would be if 110 million people demanded peace on the same day as the Super Bowl? You and I can make that happen!
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