Bath to Brunswick
Today I have a day off from the peace walk. I think we all needed it, my feet had become so sore that when I stopped walking I got stiff within minutes and could barely move. We walked six days in a row from Bethel to Portland and pick it up again in the morning when we move from Portland to Saco. From there we finish in Kennebunk and the walk will continue without us Mainers south to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
There is so much to write about. The walking community, usually about 10-15 at a time, swells and shrinks each day as people come and go. On Saturday we had 35 walk from Bath to Brunswick and we got kicked out of a gas station parking lot by the state police after the owner of the station complained about us taking a rest break there. He didn't like our politics.
On Sunday, Brunswick to Freeport, we had about 20 folks and needed a place to take a break from the cold. One of our folks stopped at a country bed and breakfast Inn and knocked on the door and asked if we could rest there. They said yes and a 10-year old girl lives there who had a peace sign on her t-shirt. She asked her mother if she could walk with us and her mom ended up joining as well so they both walked more than five miles to our final destination that day.
Yesterday we walked 17 miles through a hard rain and wind to Portland. We were down to about 13 folks. By the time we got to Portland I was soaked from my waist to the insides of my shoes. Once we got to the pot luck supper I took off my socks and had to wring the water out of them.
I write this while laying in bed with my laptop on my knees. I feel like staying in bed all day.
I'm not complaining though. It is such a great experience and the people are wonderful. And the human connections we are making along the way are just very magical.
Maggie Finch, 89 years old next week, keeps telling everyone that all along the way the dogs are showing their support for the walk. She says they keep barking and pulling on their chains in order to try to join with us. Maggie is walking more than half of the mileage each day. And we all have fallen totally in love with her. She read two of her poems the other night at our pot luck supper in Brunswick. One of them, written just after the bombing of Hiroshima, has a line about the dragon with its fire lighting the way to hell.
While walking in that rain yesterday I got a call on my cell phone from John Richardson who is a candidate for governor in Maine. He is a Democrat and the former Speaker of the House in the state legislature. He is one of many in a crowded field of candidates competing for the Democratic party nomination.
In Maine we have public financing of elections so candidates are required to secure $5 donations from some number of citizens (I am not sure how many but something like 1,000 or so) in order to "qualify" for the state campaign funds.
So anyway, Richardson calls me and asks for a $5 donation. I told him I am not a Democrat and don't support the party because they won't demand that their president stop these wars. He told me I don't have to be a Dem in order to give him $5, plus he insisted that I remember that in 2003 he was one of those in the Maine legislature that voted in favor of a resolution opposing the war.
I responded by saying that was great in 2003, but that was when the Republican Bush was in power, and we are now in 2010 and the Democrats are not willing to speak out against their own president who is expanding wars.
Richardson was working real hard to convince me to send him $5 (I figured he must be pretty desperate to call me in the first place - I had to fight hard just to get a word in during the phone call....)
I finally told him, look I am out here walking in the rain, my feet hurt and my shoes are wet, and I am trying to stop these wars and want our war $$ home. I'll tell you this, I told him, let me hear you on TV or the radio or read a quote from you in the newspaper calling on Obama to end these wars and bring our war $$ home. Once I hear such a statement from you I will be happy to send you $5. That was the end of the conversation.
I doubt I will ever have to write the check. I'll let you know if I do.
In the meantime, I notice Obama has gone to Afghanistan to pump up the war. My guess is that he is trying to take the "goodwill" he is feeling inside his party after passage of the corporate health care bill and wants to translate that into more support for the soon to be requested $33 billion war spending supplemental
. I note that Obama trotted out the Bush talking points of 9-11 to justify the continuation of the Afghanistan war. He also wore the leather bomber jacket Bush always wore in similar situations. Why would anyone believe any of this?
The other thing in the news has been the agreement between Russia and Obama to cut nuclear weapons to about 1,500 each. The Russians wanted to add an agreement on "missile defense" systems but the U.S. refused. It is always good to reduce nukes by any amount but this agreement obviously fails to achieve the demands of the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that calls on all nuclear powers to get rid of all their nukes if they expect other nations like Iran or North Korea not to build any.
So the hypocrisy continues and that is why in the morning I will drag my tired feet back out onto the road to continue in the Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future.