My local anti-war group incorporates two concepts in its title.  It is a group of people coming together for “peace” and for “justice.”  I came to know them because of this blog, really.  I am an accidental activist.  Swept up by the grief that Cindy Sheehan shared with the country through dKos, and by extension through our own little pond.  And from there my own journey has taken me to Washington, has connected me with people from this site, and has led to far more involvement in my local community than I would have ever thought desirable in a former life, just one year ago.

So, to me, it is one of those mild coincidences in life that everywhere you look on the Booman Tribune this week, you see people talking about both “peace” and “justice.”  Kansas and the Peace Pilgrim.  Alito everywhere.  It is the kind of coincidence, that if you are a rational absurdist who worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a protest against formalized religion, makes you wonder if there is something larger than yourself.  Some guiding principle.  Some meaning.  I am a doubter.  I could have played well the role of Thomas in the new testament (only I would have looked more like Dick Cheney, and been a little more surly than the guy who really played Thomas).  So I’m not saying there is any meaning to anything.  There is no evidence of that.  I doubt it.  But I still see these coincidences.  And have to wonder, sometimes out loud.
Which leads me to tampopo.  Boo Tribber.  Blogger for peace and justice.  You might know her from her organization of the “Twelve Days of Justice,” where she brought together an ambitious protest to oppose the confirmation of Samuel Alito.  While I doubt it is going to work (I’m predicting he gets confirmed and our rights as we knew them will fade like polar ice caps), the fact of the protest’s existence — that it allowed us to work together toward some end — was a good thing.  It promoted a belief in humankind.  Rather than an aloneness in the face of a series of buffeting abuses that we all perceive from our present government.

So it was, that a small comment from tampopo made me repost this diary today.  I was ready to give up.  Figured this idea is too large.  Too cumbersome.  Wasted energy, perhaps.  I mean it is coming together locally, but perhaps it is not ready for prime time.  And tampopo says something like, “hang in there.”  And that was enough.  To post the idea another day.  Give peace a chance.

So why would a rational mind get all freaked about this series of events.  I don’t know.  If you are looking through my eyes, your mind would wander back to a whole series of events — a kind of chain of evidence — that led to tampopo’s comment and my reposting for day 3.  Lies.  War.  Casey Sheehan’s death.  Cindy’s protest.  Me meeting tampopo in D.C.  And her caring enough to post a small encouragement.  Maybe that chain leads nowhere.  Maybe this is a loser idea.  But then again, maybe we get enough people involved, and this is the protest that sways the vote that turns the Congress, that impeaches the liars, that ends the war, that saves some unknown soldier’s life.  Because interconnectedness is just weird like that.

Many of us came to this place, I think, because in the reality based world of dKos (which I still visit and love, for its own role in the world), grand ideas well outside the mainstream are just rejected out of hand.  Sometimes harshly.  I like to talk like a fool sometimes.  And be able to still talk.  From these flights of fancy, good things can grow.  And if not here, where?  The MSM and the modern world provide such precious little opportunity to share speech like this.  Things which we might truly believe — capitalism is a cancer, for instance, or more appropriately, killing is wrong — but we don’t get to say at the coffee pot, for fear that our bosses would not approve.

So I’ll post the idea one more time.  Ask for your support, if you believe you might change the world.  Your own little corner of the world.  Kick the can down the road for another day.  Work for an end to the war.  In some way.  Thanks for reading along.  Recommending.  Commenting.  Volunteering.  Or even just encouraging crazy thoughts.  For just another day.

The Picket for Peace

A Demand to Our Legislators

To Stop the War and Provide Justice

Who:    Local anti-war groups, individuals committed to peace, and maybe you and those like you in your community who want to stop this war.

What:    The March for Accountability is a grass-roots protest designed to influence our legislators to 1) oppose the war and 2) hold accountable those who misled the U.S. into war.  On March 20th, 2005 – the third anniversary of this ill-advised war — members of the peace movement will come together to start a 30-day picket of our legislators’ local offices.  Picketers will march outside the office during all business hours (7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday).  Our demands to our representatives will be clear and simple: Support legislation that has been introduced to stop the war (Murtha), and support efforts for a fair and open investigation on how the U.S. was misled into the Iraq War (Conyers bills for a Select Committee and immediate censure).

Where:  At the district office of any legislator who has not already demonstrated a commitment to 1) stopping the war, and 2) holding accountable those who have misled us into war (peace isn’t partisan folks — so I’m afraid some of you live under Democratic legislators who don’t share these views).

When:    The March for Accountability will start on March 20, 2006 and continue for 30 days.  The picket will be active from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to correspond with the business hours of the office.  At the completion of the 30 day protest, participants will gather to determine how best to move forward with other actions toward completion of the goals.  (I anticipate that we will renew our efforts in thirty day increments until our legislators meet our demands, or until the election where our legislators are replaced with candidates who will meet our demands — we will keep the pressure on and make change in a democratic fashion).

Why:    Our legislative representatives have the power to change the course of our country.  Congress has the power to declare war, to fund war and to oversee the executive branch that is prosecuting the war.  These powers can be used to effect the changes we seek.  Our action has the potential to directly influence the behavior of our elected representatives, or to indirectly effect the election so that a representative sharing our goals takes office.  (I am shocked at the number of people — mostly outside the blogosphere — who do not understand these basic tenants of democracy, so education on the mechanism for change is a good thing — and people like to learn — it makes them feel very good knowing that they can stand strongly for peace in a democratic way).

How:    To staff a protest of this nature with at least three picketers for every hour of the protest, we need a minimum of 150 volunteered hours per week from committed community activists (3 protestors per hour X 10 protest hours per day X 5 protest days per week).  Manpower for this protest will be provided by community groups that support peace (adopting a day or block of time) and individuals who want to support peace.  Ideally, we will build a cadre of protestors larger than minimally necessary to staff the protest, and committed enough to volunteer for follow-up actions that may be necessary as we hound our legislators until our goals are met.  At an operational level our protest will manage communications with legislators, and will coordinate medial coverage in an effort to build pressure consistent with meeting our goals.  We will also supply training and support for our volunteers, so that they are 1) focused on a unified message, 2) capable of dealing with media, 3) safe from threats to their physical security, and 4) protected in their legal right to protest.

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