Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peace Walk: Rain, Bears & Doughnuts

Today we walked through rain for most of our 13 miles from Lewiston to Gray.  We shuttled about five miles in the middle to avoid a bunch of road construction and a huge downpour.  Since we arrived early in Gray our folks are chillin at the local McDonald's, Dunkin Doughnuts or the small town library for a couple of hours.  I'm in the McCafe which has free Internet but no electric outlet so my time is limited.  (The motto here appears to be keep the folks moving in and out - electrical plugs keep the seats filled for too long.)

There is a big bear hunting referendum in Maine on November 4 that if passed would not allow 'hunters' to use bait, traps and hound dogs to hunt for bears.  One of the primary items used to bait the bears are barrels of doughnuts that are put in the woods and when the bears come to eat them they step in traps and tourist hunters then come and shoot them.

The Maine state wildlife department biologists support the present system and maintain that in order to keep the bear population at manageable levels we must allow baiting and such.  All along our walk we've seen a flurry of signs opposing the referendum which would ban bear baiting.  Amazingly there is a whole big business that has sprung up trucking day old doughnuts from Massachusetts to Maine for the operation. Bears and doughnuts are big biz!

You can imagine that when a group of walkers get tired they make jokes to keep from getting grumpy.  So the bear-doughnut story has been our constant joke during the walk.  Our friend and photographer Peter Woodruff keeps buying 'bear bait' when we stop at some local truck stop for a break.  This morning Maine Veterans For Peace member Peggy Akers came to the church in Lewiston where we slept last night and unsuspectingly brought us a box of bear bait.

If one was to judge just by the campaign signs the bear bait ban referendum will be rejected overwhelmingly. 

If you were similarly judging the race for governor then incumbent Tea Party Republican Paul LePage would also win by a landslide.  As one friend pointed out earlier this week the Republicans have won the sign wars this year.


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