Thomas P. Healy
WEST LAFAYETTE — Two dozen peacemakers from the Indiana Peace and Justice Network met here May 1 to share details about activities around the state, strengthen lines of communication between affiliates and solidify plans to show the Bush administration the bum's rush in November.
Special guest Carl Davidson, from Chicago's Peace & Justice Voters 2004, succinctly stated the dilemma facing progressive voters this fall. "No matter who wins in November, it will be a representative of U.S. imperialism. The question is, which faction?" It does make a difference who wins, he said, adding, "No matter who wins, we have to continue the struggle."
At the invitation of a member of the Indiana Peace and Justice Network, I addressed a Social Problems class at Franklin College this past week. The students' reading material included essays about unilateral U.S. military action in Iraq and terrorism.
I was urged to use my experience as a journalist in the post-9/11 era to stimulate discussion of the themes raised by the reading materials. This opportunity offered me a chance to review developments over the past 31 months and relate them to current events. But more important, I was able to get a glimpse of what young adults think about the current situation.
Current bestseller lists are packed with titles capitalizing on the public's eagerness to find out what goes on behind the scenes in U.S. government. But the most revealing political book I've read recently is a work of historical fiction set in the latter part of the 18th century. Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief (Random House, 2003), serves as an antidote to one-sided stories marketed as American history by cable news outlets as well as book publishers.
Warrior Woman is a collaborative effort by Owen County residents James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom. Jim Thom's historical novels are renowned for their attention to detail and historical accuracy. Combined with his wife's detailed knowledge of Shawnee culture and customs, this book is a gripping tale masterfully rendered by gifted storytellers.
A conversation with ICLU Executive Director Fran Quigley
In 2003, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union celebrated 50 years of service to the cause of freedom in the Hoosier State. This year, the organization faced a new challenge: finding a replacement for John Krull, who resigned his post as executive director to become the director of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism.
After a lengthy search process, the ICLU named Indianapolis journalist Fran Quigley as executive director in February. Quigley, an attorney and former chief of staff for Congresswoman Julia Carson, had only been on the job a few weeks when he discussed the challenges and opportunities he faces in safeguarding our civil liberties.
HUNTINGTON - Facing the challenge of expressing idealism in the often cynical, apathetic "real" world, a group of 34 Hoosiers answered the call to learn about the proactive activism practices known as procott at the first-ever Procott PlayShop held February 7 at Victory Noll Ministry Center, here in Dan Quayle's hometown.
In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.
-- J. William Fulbright, U.S. Senator (1905-1995)
One year ago, 10 million peacemakers gathered in more than 660 cities in an unprecedented global expression of dissent against the Bush administration's forced march to unilateral war. In chants, speeches, poetry and song, we lifted our voices to express the truth as we knew it in our heads and hearts: that the case for combat had not been made, that diplomatic options had not been exhausted and that international law prohibited pre-emptive war.
Do you try to buy locally grown organic produce? Participate in an organization that uses the consensus model? Or volunteer for a community service organization? Congratulations! You're procotting.
"Many of us are already procotting but we don't name it as such," says Sox Sperry, a co-founder of the Fort Wayne-based Procott Group. "We've created some structures to enable us to make choices we're always considering but don't have a framework for."
Eliot Coleman's books The New Organic Grower and the recently updated Four-Season Harvest are bestsellers to both home and market gardeners. Renowned for his levelheaded approach to farming and his clear, unadorned writing style, Coleman urges his readers to cultivate their ability to observe and engage natural systems for mutual benefit.
He will speak on organic agriculture and specialty crops suitable for winter harvest at the Indiana Horticultural Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Indianapolis. Coleman recently spoke with Tom Healy from his farm in Maine.
"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
-- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Honoring Dr. King's memory, a thousand protesters greeted George Bush on Jan. 15 when he visited Atlanta to lay a wreath at Martin Luther King Jr.'s tomb. Protesters refused to be herded by police into a "free speech zone" and continued to boo Bush during his brief remarks.
In May I spent two hours interviewing retired newspaperman, public relations executive and author William H.A. Carr about his volunteer service to the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. Seated in Bill's book-lined den in Indianapolis, I noticed that one of the 17 books he penned was a biography of John F. Kennedy. "That should give us plenty to talk about," I said.
Although he was not regularly assigned to cover the White House, Carr said he occasionally took assignments in the nation's capital when Washington bureau reporters weren't available. Of Kennedy's health, Carr said, "We [journalists] knew about the Addison's disease and we all knew that he was in great pain, but we didn't know how sick he was." Carr said he was also unaware at that time of the "black bag" full of medication that accompanied JFK whenever he traveled.