Middlebury, Vt.

Life in the middle of Vermont.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Middlebury Peace Vigil

Local Peace Vigil Participants
Join Marches in Washington, Montpelier

MIDDLEBURY, September 27, 2005 -- Several Addison County residents marked the fourth anniversary of the weekly Saturday morning peace vigil on the Middlebury Green, by attending peace marches in Montpelier and Washington, D.C. last Saturday, Sept. 24.

Among them were Bristol resident Linda Knutson and her daughter, Mahli, age 7. They joined 55 others on a charter bus that traveled overnight last Friday to the nation's capital for a massive peace march. More than a half-dozen other buses from Vermont made the trip to Washington. Knutson is the mother of two and a technical writer at Middlebury College.

Among locals attending the peace march in Montpelier last Saturday were Weybridge residents Jim Morse, a self-employed oil industry consultant, his wife, Margie, and their children Nikki and Aaron.

Knutson and the Morses have been frequent participants in the Middlebury peace vigil, which began shortly after the tragedies in New York City and Washington, DC on Sept. 11, 2001. Originally organized by the Middlebury Friends (Quakers) Meeting, the vigil has expanded to include residents from throughout the county.

Since Sept. 22, 2001, there has not been a single Saturday without someone "holding witness for peace" next to the fountain. The vigil is sponsored by the Addison County Peace Coalition. In addition to the weekly event, which is open to the public, the coalition has an Internet listserve and provides transportation support for people who want to attend out-of-town peace gatherings.

Last Saturday's gatherings in Montpelier and Washington, D.C. were designed to rally public support for an end to the U. S. invasion of Iraq. An estimated 200,000 people from all over the country attended the Washington event, according to media reports.

The march and rally in Montpelier drew an estimated 1,500 people, said to be one of the largest political gatherings ever in the state capital.

"One of the most powerful parts of the march and rally involved 1,912 small white flags planted on the Statehouse lawn--one flag for each American soldier killed inIraq as of Saturday morning," said Jim Morse. "To most of us, 1,912 is just another number. It's hard to get a feeling for exactly how big it is. But standing on the edge of that sea of flags really brought home the magnitude of what we have lost, themagnitude of what the war has cost. Especially considering there were no little white flags to represent the American wounded, and the many more Iraqis who have been wounded and killed in the war."

The Middlebury peace vigil continues on the Village Green every Saturday morning for a half-hour at 10:30 a.m. A similar vigil occurs Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in Bristol.

For more information, call Winslow Colwell at 388 1961, or e-mail win@wcolwell.com.


Anonymous Jim Morse said...

Let's spread democracy in America instead!


Paul Craig Roberts, in an article entitled "How To End The War" (here) , writes,

"On the surface it doesn’t look like Bush can be stopped from trashing our country.

The congressional mid-term elections are a year away. Moreover, the Democrats have failed as an opposition party and are compromised by their support for the war. Bush has three more years in which to mire America in wider war. If Bush succeeds in starting wars throughout the Middle East, his successor will be stuck with them.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike have made it clear that they are going to ignore demonstrations and public opinion. The print and TV media have made it clear that there will be no reporting that will hold the Bush administration accountable for its deceit and delusion.

There still is a way to bring reality to the Bush administration. The public has the Internet. Is the antiwar movement well enough organized to collect via the Internet signatures on petitions for impeachment, perhaps one petition for each state? Millions of signatures would embarrass Bush before the world and embarrass our elected Representatives for their failure to act.

If no one in Congress acted on the petitions, all the rhetoric about war for democracy would fall flat. It would be obvious that there is no democracy in America.

If the cloak of democracy is stripped away, Bush’s 'wars for democracy' begin to look like the foreign adventures of a megalomaniac. Remove Bush’s rhetorical cover, and tolerance at home and abroad for Bush’s war would evaporate. If Bush persisted, he would become a pariah."

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Ron Duquette said...

The basic problem is a disconnect between the concept of "democracy" and "freedom" (or "liberty," if you will).

Democracy is a governmental process - rule by the people. It suggests that there are ways for the people to exercise that rule - via parliamentary democracy, or representative democracy, or direct democracy - but in any event, "democracy" is not so much an ideal as a means of exercising authority and power.

"Liberty," on the other hand, IS an ideal - the exercise of personal freedom tempered by personal responsibility. To the extent that people exercise and understand their liberty, their "rights," they enjoy the fullest measure of their form of government. To the extent that they don't, the government or elite or ruling party (whichever)makes decisions for them, and the peoples' "rights" or "liberties" are abrogated. This is what is currently happening in the United States.

It isn't so much "democracy" that needs spreading in this country; it's a fuller understanding of the individual's responsibilities in the exercise of his "rights" or "liberties" that are needed. When we turn off the political discussion because we are disgusted with the political process, it's not democracy that's at fault - it is we who fail to grasp the full extent of the possibilities and responsibilities of freedom, of liberty, of our rights.

The current administration's efforts to transport "democracy" to the Middle East must, of necessity, fail, because the people in question do not have a similar grasp as we do/should of "freedom" or "liberty." Until the people of the Middle East understand that they cannot use religion as a screen for personal irresponsibility, they will not be free; they will not enjoy liberty.

10:28 PM  

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