Sunday, April 08, 2007

Doing - But not writing too much

For the last several months, I have not been blogging very much. Many things have happened and so I will post a quick update.

In early December, my son came home from Afghanistan with his unit. He was slightly wounded during the summer campaign. My first impression was how angry he was - a complete change from the young man that had left late last winter. He spoke about his friend that had died and guys that were severely wounded. He discussed the early partnering with the NATO force and how innefectual it had seemed to him. He discussed his feelings about the campaign and his part in it. He has made a decision not to remain in the military beyond this contract date. Many of the things we discussed can not be published here due to OPSEC rules and his right to privacy. But suffice to say, he is no longer a true believer.

We had a nice family gathering to welcome him home in late December at his favorite Italian joint with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. The dinner and lively discussion (including teasing and jokes) was fun and helped remind all how lucky we were to have him home and in one piece.

During his redeployment phase - I helped him buy his first car: A VW Rabbit. This was a huge change from the car wish list that had come from Afghanistan which included many fast cars. With the "surge" plan we don't know how much time he will have to enjoy his new car. Rumors abound about a new deployment - but again they are only rumors.

Our candidate did not win in November - but his message was picked up loud and clear across the US: Get the US the hell out of Iraq. The newly elected Congress has addressed the issue in fits and starts over the last few months. They remain largely ineffective in changing the course despite the overwhelming desire of the American people to end the war, bring our troops home now and take care of them when they get here.

In December, I was elected to the Board of Directors of Military Families Speak Out. I look at this as an opportunity to push hard to get our world right again. On a personal level, this is very important as my oldest son is planning to marry later this year and my daughter is expecting her first child - my first grandchild. I want a world that nurtures these new beginings in an atmosphere of peaceful security and not war without end.

In January, I was back in Washington DC for a massive mobilization called for by United for Peace and Justice. Tens of thousands of people filled the mall on a bright and suprisingly warm day to call on Congress to stop funding the war in Iraq. We participated in a citizens lobby day and visited several Illinois congressional offices making the point that the only way to end the war was to stop paying for it. The emergency supplemental, unfortunately was passed calling for a withdrawal of COMBAT troops in August of 2008 in the House bill and a non-binding end to combat operations in the Senate bill. Again, the Congress still fails to listen to the people - instead choosing to follow the corporate path to war without end.

In March, Chicago mobilized to mark the begining of the fifth year of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The mission still remains poorly defined and according to most experts, unattainable but we continue to send young people off to war in an effort to provide the President with a legacy.

And here it is April - cold for Easter but at least in Chicago, no snow. Happy Easter to all and I will try to blog a bit more often.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Melissa McBeaney

Well - I finally got a picture of that elusive "donkeyphant" and her handler! Melissa McBeaney is the brainstorm of the Scheurer for Congress campaign to show the similarities between the party candidates in the 8th District.

Since both party candidates have HUGE budget...and the Scheurer campaign is cash poor, creativity is the key. McBeaney attends some of the Flash Parties that the campaign hosts to draw attention to their campaign. Both seem to be a welcome change to voters since they use fun ways to tell Bill's story rather than the attack ads and mailers so often used in elections today.

The Oak Park Peace Fair

On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, I helped table for MFSO-Chicago at the Oak Park Peace Fair. Many groups from the Chicago area had tables: Code Pink, The Green Party, several faith based Peace and Justice groups, Veterans Groups, etc. It was a bittersweet afternoon since I was finally able to meet Katy and Rosemarie in person. I have been "talking" to both for a while both on internet groups and by phone. Rosemarie's son was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq and Katy's son was severely injured in Iraq in 2005. Our good friend Georgia from MFSO Wisconsin was a featured speaker. She was instrumental in House Calling several Illinois politicians during the DC phase of Operation House Call.

This will be "it" for a couple of weeks since I am preparing to leave town for a cabin in the watch the leaves turn beautiful colors and read tons of books that I have not had time to read in several months.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A bit of fun

This weekend was a bit of fun in a very serious world.

On Sunday, I went to a concert to table the event for MFSO. I met a new MFSO friend who also "worked" the table. For the most part, we were singing to the choir...but at that particular event, the choir was pretty big indeed. The band was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young...and the featured music was Young's recent "Living with War"...although much of CSNY's older music was played as well. The song "Flags of Freedom" never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

On Labor Day Monday, I anchored a spot in a parade for "Scheurer for Congress" in the town in which I grew up. It poured for much of the time we marched in the largest Labor Day parade in the county (their billing, not mine) but that didn't dampen the spirits or enthusiasm of Team Scheurer or the crowd gathered. Our contigent featured live actor political satire...yellow umbrellas, shades of purple and just plain fun as we promoted our serious message of withdrawal from Iraq, caring for our troops when they get home, working to strenghten working families, and balancing our budget. Many damp parade goers were very responsive to our message of peace, hope and strength and interested in a candidate who presented that message with humor...and a bit of fun.