The names are still coming in and this morning I've added about 20 more to the list. I'm thinking it will be a good idea to print the whole thing in our next newsletter. A double-page spread.
It was a fascinating thing to see where the names came from. Many from South Dakota which has a total population of less than 800,000. Maine, with a population of 1.3 million was also strongly represented. Des Moines, Iowa (thanks to the Catholic Worker community there alerting their lists) was very strong. WILPF members nationwide responded well. Got one name from Mississippi, a couple from Huntsville, Alabama which is a key location for building these "missile defense" systems, and a smattering of names from other southern states where the peace movement is relatively weak. Upstate New York came through nicely, California was good, and my old stomping grounds in Florida was represented though when you compare their 18 million population with South Dakota and Maine it is remarkable to see how strongly the latter two states peace folks responded. A little positive competition never hurt anyone.
My theory on this - activists in the smaller population states understand solidarity very well. They know how it feels to be small and scattered and they instinctively respond when a call goes out. People in the big population states have alot more going on and calls for signatures on letters are just one more distraction from hectic lives. Chew on that one for awhile. Spit it out if you must.
I packaged up the names, a total of 17 printed pages, and we sent copies Priority Mail to Obama's Washington and Chicago transition offices. Then we also sent copies to Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, and the chairs of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Can't help but wonder the sound they will make when they hit the bottom of their trash cans.
OK, I know I am being a bit pessimistic. They will actually be thrown into the recycling bin.
Our timing was not bad. Yesterday all 26 NATO foreign ministers heaped lots of love on the planned Poland and Czech Republic deployments saying they would make "a substantial contribution” to protecting Europe from long-range ballistic missiles.
This of course will only make Russia more convinced that the deployments are part of a larger US-NATO plan to militarily surround and control them. Which of course is entirely true.
With the NATO endorsement, and remembering that Obama's new National Security Adviser Gen. Jones used to command NATO, it will be even harder to get Obama to stop the deployments. Not impossible, just alot tougher.
NATO is a big problem.