Friday, March 21, 2003

Friday, March 21, 2003—via the Internet Archive

I understand that there are people who check my blog every day or two. In happier times, I'd say, "Good god, have you no TV!" Today, I say thank you. I wouldn't post anything tonight if I didn't know someone would wonder if no new post meant something. Mind you, I'm not promising to post something here every day--this is a hobby, not a gig. But I'm glad to do a quick recap of this day. For sad times, it's been a great day. Maybe I'm more aware that it's been a great day because these are sad times. (I'm exhausted, so apologies if I'm even more incoherent than you've come to expect. It's a nice exhaustion.)
Got up this morning, photocopied 45 flyers for the peace gathering, ran all around Bisbee posting them. That felt good. Staplers make a swell *thwunk!* when you put flyers on telephone poles. Made an all-purpose protest sign board by stapling a sheet of foam core from Alco (Bisbee's version of a Target) to a length of wood that I bought at Ace Hardware. The foam core is the same size as poster board. Emma lettered a great "Peace on Earth" onto a piece of poster board, and we fastened that to our sign board with binder clips. It works great. Now, whenever I want, I can clip on solemn signs, angry signs, comic signs, "Eat at Joe's" signs-- Maybe I'll start a business making protest sign boards or become a professional sign carrier.
Emma and I went down to the Mining Museum around 4:40. No one was there. We sat on the bench by the museum and watched tourists walk by and wondered if we were going to get reputations as Bisbee's cutest kooks. Well, Emma might get that reputation. But just as we were about to stand and raise our sign, Angelika of Women in Black came by. Five or six people were waiting to protest on the other side of the Mining Museum. I should've been disappointed, I suppose: I spent several hours putting up 45 flyers, and less than 10 people were there. But I was just pleased we weren't going to be alone.
Angelika wanted to go by the Post Office where the Friday protests happen, so we wandered over there. And the rest of the hour went rather like a cheerful montage in a movie. Terry Wolf, a local folksinger who's quite good, showed up with her guitar. Other people arrived by twos and threes. Terry sang, and Emma joined in with her, and the rest of us joined in with them, or that's how it was from my perspective. Music rang down the street--classic '60's protest songs, but sung well and proudly. A woman came with her dog and a wordless sign, a painting of a dove on a cardboard square fastened to a pole. I handed my sign to a nice young woman and walked back to the park to see if anyone was wondering where we had gone, and sure enough, someone was. Our sign got passed along to several hands. Cars passed, and our group got one or two semi-peace symbols, but I didn't notice those (Emma did). Mostly there were smiles and full peace symbols and honking and waves. It was cheerful. That was what surprised me. We had begun dropping bombs, yet people were cheerful that peace protesters were lining the sidewalk. I think the people passing by were delighted because they realized they weren't alone. I know that was much of my delight. There were not a lot of us, maybe 35 all told, but that's a mob in a small town. But if you counted the honkers and smilers and peace-sign-flashers, we must've been several hundred.
I was depressed when the war began, but I'm not depressed now. Peace is harder than war; we have to accept that. The start of this war was not a failure for peace; it was only proof that we need to keep working for peace. This is a great moment in human history. Emma and I weren't part of 35 people today. I think 40,000 protested in Paris and 50,000 in Berlin-- Well, there are millions of us. The warmongers realized that they must have fast wars if they don't want the opposition they faced as Vietnam dragged out. Now the peacemongers are having faster peace movements.
So, we came home. We invited Bev and Dick, the landlords who don't have TV, down to watch the news hour. And the news was bad: a helicopter crashed with no survivors, several civilians dead in Iraq, several oil fields burning. But it could've been so much worse, and we like Bev and Dick, so we weren't getting bad news while we're alone.
The chopper crash made me worry more about my niece, so I called my brother and sister-in-law, which I haven't done in much too long, and had a good long talk. Which made me realize I hadn't called my mom and sister in too long, and that led to another good long talk. Wanted to fall asleep, but realized I should tweak the Bisbee Peace page (added another quote at the end of the list) and put a paragraph or two in my blog.
Now I'll toddle off to bed. Peace, y'all!

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Thursday, March 20, 2003—via the Internet Archive

I'm tempted to restore as much as I can of my blog using the Internet Archive. I can't remember what my oldest post was, so I can't swear these posts from 3/20/03 were the first, but they might've been.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

The United States of America has fired first, and war has begun. Many noble things are being said about this war, and after it is won, many rich people will be richer. So far, it looks like it'll be the best war that can be fought, but then, capitalism is the best economic system you can have if you believe that some people should be rich and many people should be poor. I pray for the troops and the civilians on both sides. I pray especially for my niece Brandi, who is on the front lines. I pray the Bush administration handles the aftermath to war much better than it handled the prelude. They seem to know so little about history or diplomacy-- Well. Add to my prayers the prayer that everything will go as well as the warmakers promise, even if that will only encourage them to use force again.
Where did all the Christians in the Bush administration go? Jesus, in the Book of Luke, says, "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." It's my favorite gospel, because Luke's Jesus also cries, "Woe to the rich!" I understand a Jesus who sometimes speaks in anger, then reminds himself that doesn't help and returns to the theme of love.
So, today I updated the Bisbee peace page, adding a lot of quotes and announcing that there'll be a protest tomorrow. I expect it to be peaceful; I know that I'm going in a spirit of quiet determination, not to rage, not to mourn, just to say by my presence that not all Americans believe in rushing to violence.
May peace be with us all.
I was going to post something about the battle for the Ramallah oil field beginning, but I'd rather post this from Jay Atkinson, who was our minister in California:
Sadness and History
As I finish writing these words on Wednesday morning, it seems that a military attack by our nation on Saddam Hussein and his government may be just hours away. The mood in last Sunday's Conversation Circle after the service was alternately angry and glum, frustrated and resigned. Sitting quietly with others in that gathering gave me a welcome opportunity to collect my own thoughts and feelings. My overall emotional tone at this point is one of sadness.
I am sad that whatever measure of moral integrity and high ground that my own country might have retained has instead been tossed into the gutter like a piece of trash. Having denounced the threat constituted by 'rogue nations,' we are about to join their ranks. I am sad to see the fragile promise of carefully forged international legitimacy being abandoned so carelessly.
I am sad for all the men and women in our armed services who will bear so much physical danger in this self-righteous crusade. I am sad for the ways that our culture has let them down by glorifying war and not teaching them adequately about the right and the duty of every citizen to refuse to obey immoral commands. I pray for their safe return, for the lives of Iraqi citizens, and for the future of a world made not safer but more dangerous by the reckless of this war.
I am ashamed and embarrassed by the hypocrisy and self-righteous arrogance, exercised in my name and against the overwhelming opinion of the world community, that has brought us to this tragic point. Time after time we have praised democracy while training terrorists like Manuel Noriega and arming despots like Saddam Hussein. Back in the 1980s when Mr. Hussein was our 'friend,' U.S. administrations and their corporate bedfellows in the military-industrial complex couldn't wait to sell him arms. Meanwhile our CIA worked to overthrow democratic governments in Central and South America because their economies threatened capitalist interests.
In all of this sad history, it is capitalism, not democracy, that has guided our policies. Corporate wealth, not peace or justice, has been the most enduring 'value' that has underlain our dealing with other countries and cultures. In this pursuit we have ignored the sensibilities and trampled the cultures of other peoples while cramming our own brand of 'salvation' down their throats. Then we claim surprise when they resent our values, distrust our motives, and strike back with hatred against our economic tyranny and cultural imperialism.
Six hundred years ago the humanistic predecessors of our Unitarian forebears in Poland saw the illegitimacy of such oppression. Queen Jadwiga and her disciple, Paulus Vladimiri, espoused a vision that rejected the unilateral use of superior force and advocated mutual justice as the only viable foundation for international relations. Our modern Unitarian Universalist commitment to 'justice, equity and compassion' lies in direct descent from this nearly forgotten principle.
Pete Seeger asked the right question more than forty years ago: 'When will they ever learn?'
And I am not resigned.
In faith, Jay Atkinson