Thursday, February 01, 2007

Walking the walk!

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.

Bill McDannell and Dada after walking a
short ways with him Monday afternoon.

Late Monday morning, Mrs. Dada and I hopped in the car and drove out east of El Paso where we stopped alongside the freeway and she left me. Now I'll explain why.

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!


D.K. Raed said...

will do the online petition, thanks for pointing it out. the guy's pretty amazing & you took the time to go meet him! I think I remember that guy who walked across the US to lose weight. If it's the one I'm thinking of, the before & after pictures were dramatic. Of course, Bill McD doesn't have any weight to lose that I can see, except the weight we are all carrying about this insane war-diseased mentality pervading our leaders. Last year an iraq-vet walked north to south on I-15 from Montana down to Otay Mesa border crossing. He was protesting the stop-loss, short turn-arounds & longer deployments in iraq. Got NO local coverage even though he stayed right here overnight! a pox on these blithe world destroyers ~~ D.K.

azgoddess said...

i'll be glad to walk with him...virtually -- thanks for the great link!

PTCruiser said...


Thanks, Dada.

dada said...

To those of you who took a moment to sign Bill's petition, I thank you for him.

We must never think we're insignificant. It starts with one person. It builds. Soon we have a mob!

enigma4ever said...

Here Here bring on the Mob....I will sign his petition...thank you for sharing his story with us and taking us on The Walk....At some point I still think we all need to go park in George's lawn and refuse to leave until some progress is made about this godamned war...No more Silent Marchs- time for pots and pans...lots of them...

meldonna said...

Great story, Dada, and a really well thought-out petition. I was very pleased and proud to and my John Hancock.

Pots and pans indeed -- and big metal spoons!

Jackie McElveny said...

Thanks for writing about this and bringing it to people's attention. I've been following Bill's journey since before he left San Diego and contribute (when I can) to his efforts. I SO hope knowledge and support of his endeavor grows exponentially. Wouldn't it be great if tens of thousands walked into to DC with him?

dada said...

Thanks Mel and Enigma for "signing up".

And to Jackie who was in on this story early on, I agree it would be great to see Bill's support snowball as he progresses across the nation.

My wife and I talked with Bill about promoting his journey more...he's about to return to CA for a few days to attend a legal matter, but afterwards, when he returns and resumes his walk, we'll look into pursuing this.

I think it'd be great if a radio talk show host could call Bill and talk with him as he's walking!

Anonymous said...

Bill stayed a couple of nights with us at the beginning of his journey. He and Jonna are such wonderful people. May God be with them and those wonderful dogs..I know they will make a difference!!!!Sue