On Monday evening, as I was driving home from our death penalty vigil, I listened to the NPR report on the activists in
Posted: Jan. 27, 2009
By Laurel Walker | In My Opinion
Peace activists keeping vigil in
least - closing up shop, I learned from a report Monday on National
Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
For more than six years, members of this group had held their weekly
protests in front of the
have done around the country. But they decided to take a break now
that Barack Obama is president, NPR reported. They want to give him a
chance to do what he said he'd do - end the war and bring the troops
It brought to mind the brave little band of peaceniks (I write that
with fondness) who have been gathering each Sunday at
I last paid attention to them in a February 2003 column written as the
and United Nations inspectors were still looking for weapons of mass
destruction that weren't there.
A larger-than-normal group had gathered along
2003 as part of a day of global protest against starting the war.
We know too well how much good that did.
Just as with the
peace activists that day with honking horns, middle-finger salutes,
peace signs, thumbs up, thumbs down.
Sunday after Sunday, more than 360 Sundays later, they still gather at
horrible chill. Last Sunday, there were five, including an
vet. The Sunday before, 10.
"We are definitely still going," says Judith Williams, director of the
Catholic Worker House and a longtime peace activist. "The war is not
But this is the dawn of a new day. We have a president whose unlikely
campaign was jump-started with his early opposition to the war. Now
President Obama has his hands full with an economic mess of gargantuan
But he's also leading on the foreign front - both militarily and
diplomatically. He ordered the
year. He met with his military leaders on Day One and called for their
exit plan for
kinds of moves that give
can back off.
aren't backing off, according to Judy Miner, office coordinator in
weekly, some monthly, some for only a half-hour in winter.
"What we're hearing from groups is it's even more important for us to
be out," to show the president they support an end to the war, she
Williams agreed, saying of the Waukesha group, "We have a very strong
conviction that the war has to be very clearly over."
Which war? I asked. Because as sure as the president says he's ending
one war, he's ratcheting up - as promised - the other in
where he so far seems to have more public support.
Williams said she differs with Obama on the Afghan moves.
But for now,
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