For two years I remained silent while pro-war columnists and letter-writers launched mean-spirited accusations against the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition. They have accused the RFPC of being unpatriotic and engaged in vitriolic name-calling rather than civil discourse. I have not responded because I believed that it was counterproductive to participate in tit-for-tat name-calling. I am responding now because the letter-writers leave an impression to the uninformed that the positions taken by the RFPC are far left-wing.
The Truth and Peace Convention and Barbeque organized by the RFPC was a demonstration of the passionate commitment of many people to justice and peace that has not been recognized nearly enough. When I called Carbondale Mayor Michael Hassig, school board president Susan Hakanson and Glenwood Springs Councilman Bruce Christensen to speak, each of them immediately said yes. In the past two years, each of these individuals has attended one or more of the events and demonstrations organized by the RFPC. After sending out an e-mail asking for sponsors to donate to the free barbecue, the RFPC received $3,400 from doctors and nurses at Valley View Hospital and Grand River Medical Center; school administrators and teachers from Colorado Mountain College, Colorado Rocky Mountain School and the Re-1 School District; attorneys; therapists; architects; blacksmiths; homemakers; and local businesses, including the Woody Creek Tavern, Pomeroy Instruments, Earthangel Daycare and the Floral Boutique.
These speakers, individuals and businesses were willing to put their names and reputations on the line by associating with the RFPC. I am grateful to all the speakers, musicians, sponsors and volunteers who cared enough about our future to let the public know that peace is patriotic.
Mayor Hassig spoke about how the U.S. Patriot Act invades our privacy by allowing law enforcement to sneak and peek into our homes and credit and bookstore records. Hakanson sharply criticized President George W. Bush for not only falsely claiming that “No Child Left Behind” is an educational success, but also his policies which leave millions of children behind in poverty and lack of health care. Councilman Christiansen made the connection between the war in Iraq and oil. The Earthbeat Choir has appeared at all of the RFPC events. At the barbeque, 30 choir members, all grade school to teenage girls, sang about truth and peace.
The people who participated in the Truth and Peace Convention and Barbeque and the 500 people who attended the event are the people who have made up the RFPC over the past two years that the pro-war letter-writers and columnists have been verbally assaulting. We represent the antiwar view of at least 50 percent or more of citizens of the valley. To continue to question the patriotism of those opposed to our government’s war machine is un-American and makes those who do so look foolish.
Calvin Lee is a member of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition and a Carbondale resident.
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