Anti-Nuclear, Political Activist

Holy Saturday Heartbreaking Grief

News of Death

Last night they came with news of death,
not knowing what I would say.

I wanted to say,
“The green wind is running through the fields,
making the grass lie flat.”

I wanted to say,
“The apple blossom flakes like ash,
covering the orchard wall.” 

I wanted to say,
“The fish floats belly up in the slow stream,
stepping stones to the dead.”  

They asked if I would sleep that night,
I said I did not know.

For this loss I could not speak,
the tongue lay idle in a great darkness,
the heart was strangely open,
the moon had gone,
and it was then
when I said, “He is no longer here,”
that the night put its arm around me
and all the white stars turned bitter with grief.

David Whyte, River Flow (Many Rivers Press: 2007), 313 published today in Richard Rohr’s meditations.

I’ve been asking myself why so few movements, presidential candidates, justice organizations like the Church Council or Faith Action Network or Earth Ministry–to name a few local to Seattle–have put the banning of nuclear weapons first and foremost on their agenda? I think we are in deep denial. We speed past Holy Saturday, that awful presence of death counting on the truth of resurrection.

The Trident submarines proliferated since the first one steamed into Puget Sound in 1981 and scared many of us into action against it. When I tell my Open Borders audiences that there are eight of those submarines over there, just twenty miles away, their eyes open, then glaze over, then drop to their lap or the floor; their shoulders drop. Some may shake it off. Anyone under fifty has lived their whole life under the potential cloud of nuclear winter.

We can not find true resurrection unless we acknowledge the death that is happening to our planet right now and the threat of death hanging over us. 

Can we grieve together? Knash our teeth, beat our breasts, weep harsh, wet, unstopable tears of grief for the state we are all, everyone of us, from here to North Korea, to Pakistan, to Iran, to Russia, to India, all of us? Standing in the darkness, let the night put its arm around us, comfort us, so that through our grief we can open our eyes to the steps we can each take, however small and seemingly insignificant, to bring life back into our future.

Join me with Washington Against Nuclear Weapons. Together we can awake from denial and change the future.

Act II of the Great Tridium of Easter

Betsy

Anti-Nuclear, Buy Open Borders

The Nuns, the Priest and the Bomb

A good group of people came out to The Nuns, The Priest, and the Bomb, playing last Friday at Meaningful Movies in Gig Harbor. The organizers invited me to bring books, read from Open Borders and field the after-movie discussion. The movie featured dangerous direct non-violent action by elderly people who entered high-security places: Bangor’s Trident Submarine Base in Bangor, WA and Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. The audience applauded these actions. They favored increased travel into “enemy” countries and friendships across borders, the subject of my memoir. Over half-dozen people went home with my book tucked in their pockets, hopefully, to be inspired to move from fear to action. There is a No First Use bill awaiting votes in both houses of Congress right now. Why not call your member of Congress and encourage him or her to sign on to this bill? It’s easy to do by calling the Congressional Hotline: (866) 255-3207 Watch this TED talk by a nuclear scientist if you aren’t convinced we need to do something NOW.

Watch this and then do something. You’ll be glad you did.

Together, we can stop this madness. Citizens made a difference before. We can do it again. That’s the way Democracy works. Betsy

Anti-Nuclear, Buy Open Borders

Victory in the Legislature

Passed in Committee!

State Dems: Please don’t give Trump sole authority over nukes

By Sean Harding / WNPA Olympia New Bureau

OLYMPIA — Democratic lawmakers have asked the U.S. Congress to ensure the President does not have the sole authority to launch a nuclear strike, except in cases of retaliation to a nuclear attack.

The state House and Senate each presented memorials to the federal government and president requesting to make it U.S. policy not to use nuclear weapons first.

“Your Memorialists respectfully pray that Congress take appropriate steps to move back from the brink of nuclear war by establishing a system of checks and balances to ensure that the President shall no longer have the sole, unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons, except in circumstances of retaliation to a nuclear attack,” the memorial reads.

Senate Joint Memorial 8006 was heard in the Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections on Friday.

The document cites Washington’s unique role as the being home to the largest collection of nuclear weapons in the Western Hemisphere; the trillions of dollars required to update and maintain the U.S. arsenal; the global “catastrophic human, environmental, and economic consequences” of a nuclear strike; and the “inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and to live a life free from the threat of nuclear weapons” for all Americans, as reasons for Congress to take action.

“Ever since the beginning of the Cold War, our greatest fear: that nuclear weapons of some nation would fall into the hands of a leader who was deranged, psychopathic or mentally ill,” said Bruce Amundson with Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “We’re much too close to that right now.”

“It’s particularly important for the state of Washington to take point on this,” said Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill, who prime-sponsored the Senate version of the memorial. “Because we have more nuclear weapons in our state than any other state … that makes us a prime target.”

Sens. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, David Frockt, D-Seattle, Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, co-sponsored the Senate document.

The House companion document, Joint Memorial 4008, was introduced by Reps. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle, Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim and Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle.

“With the Trident base at Bangor, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the naval base in Bremerton, Boeing: we are targeted in the eventuality of a full-scale nuclear attack,” Amundson said. “This Puget Sound area would be incinerated.”

The U.S. Navy’s Trident nuclear powered submarine USS Alaska is guided into an explosives handling wharf at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in 1998. (Gene Royer/US Navy)

If approved by the full Legislature, copies of the memorial would be distributed to President Donald Trump; the president of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the state of Washington.

“I think we need to not just lead by example for the benefit of the world. But for self-preservation sake,” Hasegawa said.

Citizen diplomacy is alive and well in Washington State today. Join us.

Read the story of Citizen activism in the 1980s. Open Borders, by Betsy Bell.
 
Watch this live recording of the testimonies given by our very own WPSR/WANW Coalition members: Louise Lansberry, John Repp, Lisa Johnson, Glen Anderson; Bruce Amundson, Laura Skelton, Jade Lauw, Mary Hanson, Rodney Brunelle, and William Burns!

On Friday Feb. 22, Washington State Legislators said “No More!” to nuclear proliferation and are standing up to Nuclear War and the New Arms Race.

These multiple nuclear crises are finally being addressed with a bold and visionary pair of initiatives in the Washington State Legislature. These Joint Memorials were led by Sen. Hasegawa in the Washington Senate and Rep. Tarleton in the House and propelled by the public, call for the U.S. Congress to “take appropriate steps to move back from the brink of nuclear war.”

The Washington Against Nuclear Weapons coalition applauds Sen. Hasegawa and his colleagues for holding a hearing on Senate Joint Memorial 8006 Friday, February 22nd, 1:30 PM, by the Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections.

Thank the members of the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee for their support! Get their contact info here.

Share the good news with your members and on social media by forwarding this email!

Anti-Nuclear, Political Activist

Preventing First Strike

Dear Anti-nuclear Weapons Warriors,

Things are heating up. In order to prevent a first strike–Preventing First Strike–Rep Adam Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced the No First Use Act last week. Contact your Federal House Reps and Senators to encourage them to co-sponsor.

 

 

 

Here’s a suggested script:

Sample Script

Hi my name is _________, and I am a constituent
living in _________. I’m calling to urge your office to co-sponsor the No First Use Act introduced last week by Rep. Adam Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as bicameral bills HR 921 and S 200. This bill would help prevent the possibility of the US initiating a nuclear war, which would cause unthinkable destruction to all people and the earth. A ‘No First Use’ policy would prohibit the conducting of a first-use nuclear strike absent a declaration of war by Congress. This policy decreases the likelihood of launching missiles in a crisis, whether by accident or deliberate action.Will your office co-sponsor the No First Use Act? Thank you!

A lot of people in the Pacific NW and then across the country worked to prevent a first strike back in the 1980s. The USSR collapsed in 1989. The START treaty resulted in the destruction of thousands of nuclear weapons. Here we are in a new Cold War. Today we have the internet. We can create a wave of anti-nuclear weapons voices across the globe. Read what some of us did back then in Open Borders: A Personal Story of Love, Loss and Anti-war Activism. You can get the book from your local independent bookstore or wherever you get your books.
BTW I’ll be reading from Open Borders at the SW Branch of the Seattle Public Library, 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14th. Details under Calendar.
Anti-Nuclear, Creative Non-Fiction, Historical Memoir, Memoir

Author2Author interview

William Kenower, talk show host of Author2Author recently interviewed me about Open Borders and how it came to be. I invite you to listen to this 30 minute show, after which you might browse his other author interviews to see if one of your favorite authors has something to say about their work.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author-magazine/2019/01/15/author2author-with-betsy-bell

Bill curates an archive of talks with Northwest authors. I’ve know Bill as a supportive teacher of memoir and an author in his own right.