Friday, March 18, 2005

Kathryn Hedges (P)responds To GuvWurld Comments on War Resisters Resolution

On Wednesday morning I received a great note in response to my last entry. Kathryn Hedges wrote to say she shares my views on Arcata's proposed war resisters resolution. In fact, just prior to Monday's town hall forum she authored a terrific letter to the Arcata City Council on this subject. It mirrored so closely what I wrote Tuesday night that I asked for and received Kathryn's permission to publish her letter here (it was also submitted to the Arcata Eye).

> To the City Council:
> Although I agree that the war in Iraq is morally unsound and there are
> grounds for considering it illegal, I do not believe that Dave
> Meserve's City Resolution is a productive action.
> Such a Resolution should only be adopted if there is consensus in the
> community. We did not have consensus at the City Council meeting, and
> I doubt the Town Hall meeting tonight will convert the non-believers.
> Consider the unintended consequences of the Resolution: this is a slap
> in the face to those who served in the armed forces, and to those who
> disagree with Dave Meserve's view on the war. If we want our minority
> opinion to be heard in Washington, it is hypocritical to ignore our
> community members who disagree with the opinion of the week. We have
> enough polarizing issues in the community, such as the homeless
> situation, logging, and Town vs. Gown, without inventing one.
> I am also dismayed that consideration of this Resolution has postponed
> debate on a matter that stands a better chance of gaining consensus:
> the No Confidence Resolution. Although I, and most people I've spoken
> with, agree the local elections are operated fairly and legally,
> nobody is satisfied with the national situation. Electronic
> touch-screen voting is a very cost-ineffective way to count votes--it
> isn't even particularly accurate. Unfair allocation of equipment has
> become a means to discriminate against minority voters in some areas
> of the country. I was concerned when I heard that Humboldt County is
> considering adoption of the infamous Diebold touch-screen ballot
> machines, which makes the No Confidence issue time-sensitive. We need
> to be sure that our votes count the way we cast them, even if we don't
> need to worry about discrimination at the polls. Consider that if the
> 2000 election had been completely fair and aboveboard, George W. Bush
> may not have become President, thus preventing the Iraq War. It also
> makes more sense for a City government to be concerned with the
> workings of democracy than of military or foreign policy.
> Although the City Council certainly spends more of its time taking
> care of normal community business than it does on Resolutions, these
> national issues tend to occupy a disproportionate amount of people's
> energy and attention. We need to consider carefully what causes we
> support in this manner, lest we trivialize our City Resolutions into
> the "issue of the week," diluting any effect on our national audience.
> Thank you for reading my opinion on this matter.
> Sincerely,
> Kathryn Hedges



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