We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!" ~ Molly Ivins, from her last column of January 11, 2007.
We drove out that way because we knew Bill McDannell would be walking out there somewhere. And when we caught up with him, I joined him for a short distance. I wanted to learn a little more about Bill and to 'walk in his shoes' a short ways--a very short way. Like, two miles of so.
You see, Bill McDannell is walking from San Diego to Washington, D.C. and he's taking names! Yes, he's gathering signatures on a petition as he walks to present to our government representatives to get us out of the insane wars in which we find ourselves deeply mired without the leadership capable of stopping it. Bill'd love to present the original petition to president Bush personally.
We had met Bill briefly a week ago today at a gallery reception for a local artist, Catholic Friar (and member of the Border Peace Presence Mrs. Dada belongs to). We had heard Bill would be passing through these parts.
A very amiable person, as I gathered from our brief visit that evening at the gallery, I wanted to know more. People with such strong commitment to their ideals have always intrigued me.
So on this Monday morning while out there walking, I imagined how being alone in the desert must leave one with lots of time to think in the midst of incredible landscapes that pass slowly, silently, save for the deafening endless stream of passing big rigs. Fortunately, after just a couple miles we came to a truckstop restaurant where we were joined for lunch by Mrs. Dada (along with a car!).
Bill is also one of those rare persons so strongly dedicated to his principles that he is compelled to honor them. As illustrated by his walk, he stands up for them in a very big way indeed!
As we learned during lunch, he had been passionately against our wars for sometime. Feeling the need to manifest his feelings in some constructive and meaningful way, an idea came to him this past August. It happened quite by chance one day when he drove a person from San Diego to Barstow. During that couple hours drive, he learned his passenger was walking across the U.S. to lose weight!
When Bill returned home, he told his wife he had a plan to express his displeasure with our government's destructive foreign policies. They would sell their home in San Diego and he would walk across the country to Washington, D.C. for peace! Bill happened to catch his wife in a vulnerable moment. She was down with a cold or something.
Sometimes seemingly chance encounters with others, or unexpected events change our lives inexplicably--forever! They spin us off in a totally different direction as a result. I'm sure everyone can recall such instances if they really think about it. We've all had them.
Bill's encounter with a passenger he shared a couple hours drive with was one of those. And the way it changed the lives of he and his wife was huge. That's because they did sell their home and they are now not just talking the talk, they are walking the walk. Literally.
Mrs. Dada and I enjoyed our couple hours with Bill; learning more of what motivates him. He and his wife have a large family. They have grandchildren. And they care what kind of future world they inherit. And for that, they are willing to forgo their comfortable past to make a huge statement for a hopeful future. For everyone.
Bill has a website called Walk to End the Wars. There you can learn more about him, track the progress of his walk across the country, and most importantly--if you are against our current and possible future wars--you can sign his petition online. It takes less than a minute what is taking Bill nine months to deliver to our seemingly immovable representatives. At the least, I urge everyone to do this. Thanks Bill and bon voyage!
As Molly Ivins continued in her last column,
Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and are trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge.
From what Bill McDannell is doing, I'm sure Molly Ivins is pleased!