Why this blog?

Nancy Van Ness is a performing artist in New York.  Since she values creativity and the power of transforming joy that often accompany it, she is distressed at the destruction caused by war, especially a war of choice such as the Bush regime is waging in Iraq under false pretenses at this time, mid August 2006.

Van Ness elected to participate in the peace demonstration at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, the home of George W. Bush.  This blog is a means of letting friends and family know how that experience unfolds and a place for reflections by friends and family during and after the demonstration.

Just before leaving, she wrote:

August 16, 2006     

This is Nancy.  Jeannette, one of George’s good friends, asked how I decided to participate in this year’s peace demonstration at Camp Casey.

The shortest and most dramatic answer is that I was walking up the hill on 92nd Street heading toward 3rd Avenue on the Fourth of July this year when I had the inspiration to go.  At that moment I did not have the resources to do so, but within a matter of days, I had an airline ticket and the money I needed as well as a lot of spiritual and emotional support. 

After that first inspiratoin, I engaged in a process of discernment, seeking counsel from people who know me well and who are a lawyer, a peace activist, a spiritual director, and several other persons of great faith and integrity.  They asked questions, shared their knowledge and insights, listened.  Each conversation I had led me to a clearer understanding of what is important to me.  I decided to go.

A longer answer would detail my concern about my country beginning with the election of 2000, the exploitation of the events of September 11 by the Bush regime and the subsequent abrogation of our rights and freedoms at home, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the torture of prisoners, the disregard of the Geneva Conventions and subsequent war crimes, as well as the incompetence of the Bush administration in domestic matters.  I have been distressed by the lack of debate, the failure of the press and other media to challenge the administration and to print what it knows, and the apathy or paralysis or whatever it was of the American people. 

I have been censorious all of my adult life of the German people who allowed their Weimar Republic to be overturned by Hitler.  I see ominous signs that my country could be headed along a similar path toward an authoritarian state.  I had decided early on that I would not go to my grave without doing what I can to prevent such a development.  I began writing to Bush and my elected officials early and did so daily when the invasion of Iraq seemed imminent and at several other moments.

Several of my friends were participating in demonstrations here in New York and in Washington.  I asked myself if I needed to do likewise.  Though I was not clear about what to do, I was also not entirely comfortable with my writing campaign alone.  I was assiduous in that campaign, more than one time writing to every member of the Senate for instance. 

Last year when Cindy Sheehan went to Crawford for answers from Bush about what good cause was served by the death of her son and the other American service personnel who have died in Iraq, I was inspired.  Cindy was an important force in changing the national discourse. 

Now, a year later, I want to help sustain the momentum.  I just listened to young Lt. Watada’s call for all military personnel to refuse to fight this illegal, unjust war.  He is the first officer to refuse to serve in that war.  The disastrously incompetent response of the Bush administration to Katrina following close on the heels of Sheehan’s presence in Crawford fueled a change.  Subsequent reporting of administraion spying and lying, the scandals in the Congress and the GOP, arrests and indictments, all have brought about more changes in attitude.  We are beginning to have some national debate, though we are far from having truly free discussion of issues.

Ultimately, I am going to Camp Casey not to do anything, but to be my authentic self, standing with others who say that what is happening here in the United States is wrong, is contrary to our Constitution and to decent human behaviour.  Crawford, Texas, is not just a remote place; it is the home of George Bush.  The presence of Camp Casey has made it uncomfortable for George Bush to cut brush and ride his bicycle this year.  He is not able to hide out there anymore.  There is, finally, a visible opposition.  I am going to be part of that opposition.

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