January 2006

Does anyone care if a few people march for peace?

By Art Goodtimes

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE … As many of you know, a small group of us regularly walk the length of main street in Telluride on the 11th of every month. We’ve been doing so ever since the tragedy of 9/11. Some 51 times to date. Not only for those innocent souls killed in that horrific event, but for all those killed and injured since – not only in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in wars and conflicts around the world … One reason a handful of us feel it’s important to walk for peace is because we are a nation at war. Although Congress has not declared war, as our Constitution says it must to engage in foreign conflicts, nevertheless this nation is at war. That’s a fact that’s easy to forget. Unless you are the family or friend of a loved one serving in our armed forces overseas … And so for those of us who observe this one day a month by taking local action, we feel a strong need to call attention to the fact that our tax dollars are being used to mount overseas military operations in our name. And that people are dying every day, on both sides of these foreign conflicts … But not everyone thinks this walking for peace is useful or wise. One Telluride local sent me a note the other day, with an article detailing the alleged statement of the new Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that “Israel must be wiped off the map”, and the U.S. too. Terrible and reprehensible statements in my mind (akin to the terrible and reprehensible statement of the socalled “Reverend” Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of the democratically- elected Venezuelan head of state) … The note accompanying that article was brief: “Do you think this guy will respond positively to a peace march by anyone?” … This was a kinder version of the dismissive sentiments of another “Christian” Tellurider who rolled down his window and taunted the peacewalkers on the street this month, “So, you want to bring Hussein back, right? Bring back Hussein!” … For me, the answer to the local who wrote questioning if the Iranian leader will ever listen to those marching for peace is both yes and no … No. The kind of alleged war-mongering rhetoric quoted leads only to more and more horrific acts. And Mr. Ahmadinejad is unlikely to give a hoot about a handful of people in Telluride marching for peace. He deserves U.N. sanction, and our nation certainly needs to be alert to defend ourselves and our allies against demagogues like this, if this is indeed what was said … But yes, marching for peace can play a part in stopping the cycle of violence that our nation, and the world as a whole, is caught up in. Power resides in the people in any country, not in its leaders – although our leaders attempt to represent the people (for better or worse) and do wield power on behalf of the people … A handful of marchers give witness to a desire for peace. A hundred marchers stop traffic. A thousand marchers stop commerce. A million marchers can change the direction of a nation. Gandhi taught us that. Martin Luther King, Jr., taught us that. And Rosa Parks taught us that those great movements for peace and justice start with individuals giving witness … Consider joining us on Jan. 11th at noon at the County Courthouse. And Feb. 11th. And every 11th until our nation stops waging foreign wars. Let’s give peace a chance here on the Western Slope.

WEB MISCHIEF … Do a Google on the world “failure” and check on the first item listed. You might be surprised … And then again you might entertain the same smirk as the webpage photo that comes up when that first item is double-clicked.

JEANNINE PARVATI BAKER … Although we never met, I corresponded with this good woman. Wanted to bring her to mushfest, though it never happened. Many of my friends utilized her herbs. Learned from her wealth of herbal and midwifery knowledge. Here’s what former partner Lindamarie Luna had to say about Jeannine … “I remember her as a very clever wordsmith, astrologer, herbalist and passionate and kind midwife, doing much to smooth the rough spots of the profession. She was my first midwifery mentor almost 20 years ago, when I took her correspondence course on Spiritual Midwifery, in which she answered each and every student’s work with long, insightful personal letters! All while homesteading, catching babies, nurturing her own, and publishing books like the great herbal HYGAEA” … Blessed be!

WEEKLY QUOTA … “The purpose of the press is to stampede the mammoths of power off the cliff of their own making.” — the legendary Jack Mueller, Budada of Log Hill Village.

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.

White Space
Screaming over Vail Pass
through blinding snow
and then back to town.
A purple Dodge melts
to the shape of a tear,
wells up as I merge in traffic.
White lines unwind behind me
like blasts on a mirror
back to the funny bank
where your friend disappeared
all those years past.
Oval like an egg, or a small
rubbing out the words
‘til only newsprint
and white space remain.
Sorrow is a circle,
round as the moon.
In every light is blackness
and every hello
holds the sounds of goodbye.
— Caitlin Switzer