Sunday, November 7, 2010

Many hands make light work

Photo courtesy of Afghan Women's Writing Project. 
Lend your ears to their voices here.
I guess I get discouraged a lot faster than most people. (But maybe I get encouraged faster, too.) The rout of so-called progressives in the mid-term elections was in the cards from the moment candidate Obama went back to his seat in the Senate and voted yes on that year's war supplemental funding bill.

Sometimes it just takes a couple of years for those kind of chickens to come home to roost.

The sold out Democratic Party deserved to lose, and they did. So be it. Read 20th century history of Germany if you want to find out what happens next.

Meanwhile, let's keep joining hands in a circle with people who manifest the power of solidarity, and love for their fellow human beings. That means all fellow human beings, not just the ones with the correct understanding of what's going on. I don't like effigy burnings. 

Here's what I do like:
Peace walking  
Buddhists and veterans and college students and others are doing it in Maine this week. I do it on my local bridge every Sunday for an hour. It fits with my schedule and over time it has become one of the deepest experiences in my life. It also offers opportunities we did not anticipate. Try it and you might find strength in it, too.

A friend I grew up with and I have been collaborating on a novel for teens about a family with a veteran dad who has PTSD. We are just finishing our first draft and it has been a great learning experience. I've listened carefully to the stories of family members of soldiers who come home thus afflicted. It affects everyone in their family and, really, their community. Our friend Dr. Bob Hayes talked about this with us last Wednesday night in Waterville after a potluck supper for the Maine Peace Walk.
Another wonderful peace walker and news bringer on Wednesday night was Beth Adams, who brought a greeting from Northampton, Mass. where a BOW$H resolution was recently passed. A great public forum with lots of testimony from community members was an important part of their process. During our discussion Bruce Gagnon mentioned that a lot of our fellow citizens are looking around for explanations about why they and their loved ones are in economic distress. "Let's help them find the war spending answer." I said I know people working on the campaign in California, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, PA and New Mexico. And Maine organizer Gary Higginbottom went to NYC this weekend to share BOW$H news with a regional conference of United National Antiwar Conference folks.

The 2nd Draw-a-Thon to Bring Our War $$ Home will be happening this Thursday (11/11, Veterans or Armistice Day) 10am-4pm at Space Gallery in Portland, Maine. Artist Kenny Cole just unveiled his show on drones and the suffering they cause "The Hellfire Story" to huge crowds and will host the 'Thon there. A potluck lunch for the artists and any peace walkers who are still around will begin at noon, and your contributions are welcome if you are in the area.

Artist Corliss Chastain with her painting of gold coins showering down on student loan debt. Pat Taub and Mark Roman installed the show of images from our last Draw-a-Thon.

CODEPINK Maine put up a show of some of the images from last February's Draw-a-Thon in Bath. The exhibit at the Meg Perry Center of Peace Action Maine in Portland will stay up all month, and it is mirrored by a smaller display in the front window of Local Sprouts, a healthy foods eatery across Congress Street.

The prominent national group Veterans for Peace was not invited to participate in the annual Veterans Day parade to Portland City Hall. Last year they carried a banner calling on the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan, angering some organizers of the parade. We shall see how they participate this Thursday before joining us at Space Gallery.

Artist Rob Shetterly will be on hand along with others offering portraits of veterans and peace lovers. Artists Natasha Mayers and Brian Reeves have contributed a lot of energy to this event already. You can see a full list of participating artists here on Kenny's Draw-a-Thon blog.
Last year's Draw-a-thon in Bath: artists at work!
The Union of Maine Visual Artists along with Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and CODEPINK Maine are co-sponsoring.

Join us, because many hands make light work.

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