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We each can play role in seeking peace

Tamie Meck

When asked if I would add my name to a list of supporters for peaceful solution to the ongoing crises in the Middle East, I had to say yes. I sent a check for $25 to the cause, too. With all the coverage of war in the media, we need more talk of peace in our lives.

I don’t pretend to be a pundit on the politics that drive war. As with most any topic I write on, I figure I write from a perspective of the average person. I read newspapers and some magazines, watch the news, and pay attention when matters concern me and the safety and future welfare of my family, friends and country.

But I don’t have to be an expert in causes of war to know that I believe that there are peaceful solutions to any and every conflict on this planet. I also believe that if more people speak out for peace, the bombings in Afghanistan and other countries throughout the world, both today and in the future, can stop. Construction of nuclear weapons and bombs and land mines can stop.

That’s why the Roaring Fork Coalition For Peace has my money and my support. So far, the newly-formed coalition includes about 100 names, including local politicians, teachers, counselors, mediators, health providers, architects, Vietnam veterans and more, all of whom recently signed a letter to President Bush asking for peaceful solutions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. A complete copy of the letter, and those who signed it, is scheduled to be printed in this paper on Friday, May 17.

Coalition members are “opposed to a war on terrorism that has no end.” What is happening in Afghanistan isn’t solving problems. It’s creating future problems by creating a new generation of hate-filled people who believe that fighting is the answer and the United States is the bad guy.

The letter also asks to reduce the need for foreign oil, which much of this fighting is about.

Reducing foreign oil dependency is possible. Honda already has some of the technology that will get us there. For nearly 30 years, Honda has led the way in producing high-mileage vehicles.

Until it was totaled by two reckless drivers at the intersection of highways 133 and 82, my husband drove a little Honda Civic VX. The car could accelerate plenty fast and handled well on snow and ice. For almost five years he drove it from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and back, six days a week, for about $10 a week. The car was rated at 45 miles per gallon city, 55 mpg highway, as I recall, but we averaged closer to 65 mpg. We loved that little car.

When the car was totaled, we checked with the local Honda dealer on the availability of the VX model. The salesman, the same guy who sold us the car, said no way. The dealership sells them as fast as it gets them. We were told the VX was no longer manufactured because the demand was so low.

I digress. My point is that reducing the need for non-renewable fuels has many solutions, and the Bush administration needs to look at all of them.

But beyond that, the administration needs to stop the bombing. Sept. 11 is over and enough innocent people have died. If more people tell Bush that we want the killing to stop, maybe he’ll listen.

If you don’t think that a lot of voices have any power, think back to the 1980s and the great Starkist Tuna boycott. Starkist, as many may recall, was hooking dolphins in its tuna nets. Since dolphins need to breathe air, they were drowning. Boycotters labeled the tuna “dolphin-unsafe.” The boycott, which lasted only a few months, resulted in Starkist switching to dolphin-safe nets and to voluntary monitoring of the industry to see that dolphins and other marine life are not killed with the tuna.

As idealistic as it sounds, as individuals, each of us can do our own part in seeking peace. We can teach our children that fighting isn’t the answer. We can avoid fighting and arguing in our own lives and exchange them for dialogue and patience. We can contact our senators and congressmen and say we are for peace.

With Mother’s Day just two days past, we can also remember that every person who is injured or dies in fighting is someone’s child.

Thus far, the generations living in the United States have seen little in the way of war on our own lands. Sept. 11 was only a glimpse into the ugliness, and most of us saw that from our television sets. If we don’t fight for peace now, can we keep war from entering the boundaries of this country? If so, for how long?

I don’t think that’s a gamble we ought to take.

Tamie Meck is a Post Independent staff writer. Her column runs on Tuesdays.


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