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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Because this war isn’t going to end on its own

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 17th September 2008

Like eRobin, I’m already pretty impressed with the “Million Doors for Peace” effort, and it hasn’t even happened yet. Tonight I reserved a “walking list” of people in my neighborhood; I can print out neat lists of names, addresses and phone numbers; I can also print out a Google map of the households involved — all within a couple of blocks of me. Famous last words, but this may be so easy it’s almost embarrassing.

An extensive “Frequently Asked Questions” site provides a lot of the details:

Whose doors will I be knocking on?

Our goal with this project is get beyond the usual list of peace activists who sign online petitions and pass them around to each other, by going into the street (or on the phone) and reaching out specifically to people who haven’t been involved. That’s why we’ve compiled the list of new or infrequent voters which we’ll be sending you. We will put up an online petition after the canvassing is done, but the most important thing is to reach these specific people, not to simply collect names. […]

…we came up with a list of people who either haven’t voted in the past few years or else have only recently registered to vote. Political professionals say these are the people most likely to respond to our message.

Will I be asked to support a particular presidential candidate? CAN I support my favorite candidate while canvassing?

A: No. This is a non-partisan activity. We aren’t working for or against any candidate.

Am I supposed to argue with war supporters?

…The point of canvassing is to find the people who already agree with us but whom we haven’t met yet. If you spend your time debating with war supporters, you’ll run out of time before you find the peace-minded people further down the list.

And so on.

Looking over my list, I see some neighbors I would think are fairly frequent voters. Of course, I may be mistaken in that, but the quality of the list will be important.

At any rate, this is an impressive,  well planned effort. You should get involved if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare — they’re OK with you going the next day, or even with phoning people on the walking list.

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Million Doors for Peace

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 6th September 2008

Members of the United States Congress:
The five and a half years of war in Iraq has been an exercise of misplaced priorities:

  • Draining U.S. taxpayers of at least three trillion dollars which could have gone towards investments that strengthen our economy, such as: health care for our families, ensuring the best education for our children and youth, and addressing the energy crisis.
  • Resulting in hundreds of thousands of American and Iraqi’s dead and wounded.
  • And undermining the United States’ standing as a worldwide symbol for democracy and justice.

Because of these reasons, the majority of American and Iraqi people want the United States to begin a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq as soon as possible, with a date certain for completing that process.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on [Your Representative and Senators] to immediately support and pass legislation that will set a specific date to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq within a year.

On September 20, an alliance of organizations including USAction, MoveOn.org, United for Peace and Justice, Pax Christi USA and others will be circulating this petition in a new kind of demonstration — a demonstration of power. The goal is to have 25,000 volunteers visit or call a million households, asking for people’s agreement with the statement.  That will (1) help elevate the issue of Iraq and its economic, human and moral costs, and (2) expand a database of war opponents to pressure whoever gains the White House this November to accelerate their plans for withdrawing American troops from Iraq.

The idea is that you sign up here; Million Doors for Peace will contact you with a list of addresses to visit or call; on September 20th, that’s what you do; then you report back to the web site with the information you’ve gathered. According to the e-mail alert I got, the addresses will be of “new or infrequent voters.”

I’m going to do itI hope you will too.

After the FISA vote this summer, I vowed I was not going to just be a foot soldier for the Democratic Party this fall.  I wish the Obama campaign well, and will work with it in the weeks ahead.  But I won’t put all my work there this fall.  As Russ Feingold put it earlier this year, “January 21 is as important as January 20,” meaning that it wasn’t enough just to elect the right guy.  Even Obama will need to see pressure (and be able to point to it) if we want a timely withdrawal from Iraq rather than endless postponements of one — to say nothing of McCain.  This will be one small way for me to help prepare the ground for that.

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