Posted by CODEPINK Staff
by Janet Weil
One of the ways people quickly spead a message these days is to share an image on social media - a simple, punchy visual with a bit of text that conveys outrage or passion or satire, or sometimes all three. In March, CODEPINK ran our first-ever shareable images contest on the subject of “Bring Our War $ Home,” a value of ours ever since the initial peace vigils in front of the White House in fall 2002. Below are the first, second and third place winners.
Inspiration literally means “the flow of air into an organism”and these images compel their viewers to take a deep breath and contemplate both how the shared resources of tax dollars are going for wars and militarism, weapons and support of repressive regimes, AND how they might be used for social good. As one of the judges of this contest, I found it very inspiring to read the reasons why the image creators want our “war dollars home.”
First Place Winner
“The F-35 is overpriced and underperforming. I would rather use taxpayer
money to restore cuts to the SNAP [food stamps] program.”
by Susan Cundiff of Oregon
Second Place Winner
"Democracy requires an informed electorate."
by Lindsey Medeiros of Massachusetts
Third Place Winner
“We can do so much more good for so much less than all we spend to cause harm.”
by Michael Wolak of New Jersey
Other contest entrants focused on the cost of wars to the devastated bodies of soldiers, who often need lifelong care; the need for civilian jobs; transforming military industrial factories into “green energy” producers; “war is child abuse”; and unmet needs at home, especially with regard to education and nutrition.
Interestingly, where military hardware was shown in these images, it was mostly from the Air Force - the stealth jets, drones and bombers that have done, or threaten to do, vast amounts of killing in countries around the world. The joystick seems to be slowly replacing the gun as the instrument of lethal force in the public imagination.
But while the images of weapons systems and the staggeringly huge numbers of so-called “defense” spending are grim, the messages of “we can do better - we want to spend our tax dollars on life” can give us all a flow of encouragement and vitality. Many millions of Americans join with billions around the world in sharing an emphasis on peace and nurturance. Visual artists give us ways to see our reality - and inspiration to change it.
Please enjoy and share.