Nine One One 2001 and John WorldPeace
Fourteen years ago, about a year after I divorced, and just a few weeks before I turned forty, I changed my name from Kenneth Edward Wolter to John WorldPeace.
I made the commitment to change my name on Friday, April 1, 1988, after having what most would call an epiphany or a vision on that day, and I had the court order changing my name signed on April 5, 1988. (11th District Court, Harris County, Texas). I was at that time, and still am, an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas and so the legal paperwork was routine.
I found it interesting that on that day I interrupted Judge Blanton working at his bench. The clerk gave him my file, the courtroom was empty otherwise, and as he took the paperwork from the clerk he said to her in an irritated manner, "It's OK, Mr. Wolter's work is more important than ours."
April 1, 2001, was both April Fool's Day and Good Friday. One tradition suggested that I was foolish. A second Christian tradition suggested that I had ended my life and was about to begin a new life.
People assume that I am a liberal pacifist when in fact I am a moderate Democrat. I am an advocate for peace, but I am not a pacifist. I willingly and proudly served as an infantry sergeant in the U S Army from 1970 to 1972 and I have three sons who served in the U S Marine Corps.
Over the last fourteen years, I have been laughed at, ridiculed, referred to as Whirled Peas and considered by many to be a ridiculous person. Others have commented on what they considered to be a wonderful name. When people find out that I changed my name, most want to know what was my birth name, but few ask. Many people think I have some Native American heritage: But as far as I know, I do not.
I changed my name because after my divorce I realized that my life was about to take a different direction. I was going to have to raise my four children and I was going to have to close down my bookkeeping, tax, and law businesses to accomplish that. I changed my name to WorldPeace because I felt a need to do something positive in the world and I thought that by changing my name to WorldPeace, when people read or heard my name, they would have to consider WorldPeace for at least a moment.
The name came from a novel that I had begun to write in 1987 entitled John World Peace. The novel took place in the year 2525 and was about a man named John World Peace who was looking back at his life and how things had changed. When I began to seriously think about changing my name during the last weeks of March 1988, I thought about changing it to John World Peace (three words). On April 1, 1988, when I had my epiphany and committed to making the change, a friend who was going by the name Cia Sun, suggest that I combine World and Peace. Otherwise, she said I would just be known as John Peace. I took her advice and combined World and Peace to WorldPeace; keeping the P capitalized.
Between 1988 and 1995, I met and married my current wife Kay, finished raising my children, took care of many family matters, and did an in depth study of all the world religions in a quest for the common denominators of spirituality in the world religions. I was born and raised a Christian but I found a need to go beyond my Christian studies. My research into the various sacred texts of the world's major religions can be found on my WorldPeace Peace Page at www.johnworldpeace.com. I feel that had I been enrolled in a formal University program, I would have earned a Doctorate in Philosophy or Religion; such was the depth of my research.
In 1996, I reopened my law practice and intended to practice law until I retired. However, in December 2000 when George Bush went to Washington and took the upper cadre of the Republican Party with him, I saw that the political landscape in Texas was open to change. The Democratic Party was in disarray and the Republicans had gone to Washington. There was no super star in either party left in Texas other than Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey. So I decided to run for governor. I have degrees from the University of Houston in Political Science, Accounting and Law and I have closely followed national and world politics for the last thirty years. I felt that I understood politics, knew how to read financial data, and knew how to get legislation passed; in a word, I had the skills to be a politician; not to mention the fact that I have dealt with people for the last thirty years as a self-employed insurance salesman, accountant and lawyer. I understand the needs of the people.
I began my campaign for governor on January 1, 2001 and I have been campaigning steadily for the last nine months. I have also continued to practice law during that time.
Every since I began my campaign, I have joked that I knew that I would win the election because, "Who is going to vote against WorldPeace." I felt that when we entered the new millennium, things changed. I felt that we had a clean slate and that maybe we could put the wars of the twentieth century behind us. Maybe we could have a generation that did not have to deal with the trauma of war. I also believed that our technology in regards to computers, space, medicine and genetics were moving so rapidly that major changes were imminent. And I knew what I had know for years, that the world was becoming more and more interrelated economically.
If you look at my postings to the internet, my web pages and my other writings, you will find that I have always maintained that any election in which I was a candidate would not only be a vote for John WorldPeace, it would also be a referendum on WorldPeace. I felt that when the majority of people entered the voting booth and saw WorldPeace at the top of the ballot, they could not help but consider the fact that they had a chance to vote for WorldPeace. Every since I declared my candidacy for governor of Texas in January, I have believed that WorldPeace would be a factor in the election and I considered that my candidacy had in fact raised the consciousness of the people in regards to WorldPeace.
Now we have had this great and horrific tragedy to which history has nothing to compare. A group of dedicated people have decided to make a statement to the world and to the United States by murdering thousands of innocent people. This was not a declaration of war in the conventional sense. This was a statement made by a small group of people to the United States that with all its might and all its power, it was and will always be vulnerable to terrorist attack. It was a statement to the United States that a small group of people can hold the most powerful nation on the earth accountable for its global acts.
The United States has stood alone against the world in refusing to acknowledge global warming as evidenced by its refusal to endorse the Kyoto resolutions. The United States has stood with only Israel in its refusal to acknowledge racism as evidenced by its marginal participation in the world conference on racism a few weeks ago. The United States has refused to come to grips with its past employment of slavery and the Black Holocaust that lasted 300 years in America until Abraham Lincoln ended it with the help of countless human beings who gave their lives to the cause. The United States has refused to come to grips with the undeniable genocide it committed against the Indian nations who have lived in the Americas for thousands of years, not just the last five hundred. And the United States has refused to acknowledge that millions of Palestinians who were forcibly removed from their home in 1948 to make a nation for Israel, must be given justice. The Jews who were purged from Europe in the 1930's and 1940's should be the most sensitive to this issue and yet they refuse to even consider it because they still have a belief that they possess the mandate that God gave to Joshua thousands of years ago to enter the land of Canaan and kill all the people of all the nations living there.
I have no easy answers to these questions and I know that no one else does either. I do know that it will take time to sort things out. Maybe decades. But in the meantime, there seems to be little doubt at this time that the mass murder of thousands of Americans on Nine One One 2001 is directly related to the Palestinian dilemma.
And what is more important is that Israel's attempt to end the suicide bombers by military action has done nothing more than inflame the situation and created more suicide bombers. It is impossible to stop a person who is willing to give their life for any cause. No army can stop a suicide bomber. In fact, a military solution will only further inflame the problem.
Mass murder between individuals and a nation is a police problem. It is not a military problem unless some nation endorses the horrific acts of the terrorist and declares war on the United States. There can be no justification for sacrificing the lives of our children who are in the military, in the sense of asking them to kill human beings, some of whom will be civilians, as well as being killed themselves when we have the ability to track down the individual conspirators who were responsible for these heinous acts. We were able to accomplish this in the last bombing of the World Trade Center and we can do it again. And we must consider that everyone was wrong about who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.
We must learn from Israel's mistake. You cannot end terrorism with a military solution. You can never stop a suicidal terrorist unless you address his or her grievance. People do not commit their lives to political acts of terrorism for no reason. We must seek out and address those reasons or the terrorism will continue and probably escalate. And I fear in this situation that we are going to have to take a hard look into the mirror in our search for the truth. The United States is the melting pot of the world. We are the hope of the world. We cannot ignore the whole world's concerns about global warming and racism. We cannot act unilaterally. We must pursue these terrorist as we would pursue any other criminal mass murderers. We can only attack nations if they declare war on us.
These terrorist are a worldwide threat and they need to be dealt with in a world court as the Nazis were in Nueremberg.
In summary, I firmly believe that the Democratic Primary in March 2002, is going to be a referendum on WorldPeace. It is not something that I planned when I changed my name thirteen years ago. It was something that I only considered in passing when I declared my candidacy for governor on January 1, 2001. It was not something that the terrorist considered when they leveled the Twin Trade Towers last week. But I have no doubt that six months from now, Nine One One 2001 is going to have an impact on the Democratic Primary in Texas. As people enter the voting booths next March, WorldPeace is going to be on their minds.
September 15, 2001