Sunday, March 18, 2007

Objecting to This War

In an editorial Johnson failed constituents in The Olympian on March 16, 2007 the writer called our city councilman TJ Johnson a scofflaw which means “a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices ... One who habitually violates the law”

I was glad to see that a letter to the editor from Alec and me was one of the ones published (pro and con) in The Olympian also on March 16th.

We wrote:

To the Olympia City Council

We are writing in support of TJ Johnson. The actions he took on Sunday night got him arrested while participating in non-violent civil disobedience to prevent equipment from the 4th Stryker Brigade from being loaded at the Port of Tacoma on a ship bound for Iraq.

My husband Alec and I will not be able to be at tomorrow's city council meeting because of illness. But we want it known that we are very proud of TJ and the other citizens who participated for being willing to put himself at risk and taking this stand.

TJ is an inspiring leader for our community and we thank him for that.

Gabi Clayton and Alec Clayton, Olympia

Was TJ flouting rules and conventions?
From what he has said, his action was an intentional act based on consciousness objection to an immoral and illegal war.

I believe that arresting him and the other people who were protesting there was not even bad law. It was not law at all. The police put up barriers for no good reason.

These were peaceful protesters who were arrested for things like crossing that barrier, or for carrying backpacks – with dangerous things inside such as a copy of the Constitution!

Being a conscientious objector is not an irresponsible act. It is the opposite.

Here are some quotes from others who also believe that:
If we agree that war is only justified when the people and participants know exactly why they are killing, then we must also agree that there is no such thing as a just war. A thorough look at history proves that governments never tell their people exactly why they must kill; the rhetoric never matches the record. I believe, and I think most people do as well, that forcing one man to take another's life without telling him the whole story is unjust.
~ Andrew Young The Case for Conscientious Objection

“Do you support the troops?”

There it was – that question again.

“I think it’s the wrong question,” Daniel Driver told reporter Lynn Jackson. “I think it’s the wrong question asked of the wrong person. And I wonder what you mean by it. I wonder what people mean by it in general. So when you say, ‘Do you support the troops?’ I wonder what you mean by ‘support’? And why do you say ‘troops’? Two in Iraq. One in Korea. Those are my sons and daughter, and I don’t think of them as troops. I don’t think of them as soldiers, warriors, killers. And I do not support them in that capacity, no. As people, yes. As family, yes. As troops, no.
~ Tony Christini in Homefront

Dissent is the purest form of patriotism. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action. ~ Pope John Paul II

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