Journal of the San Juan Islands


Of Waldron, war, and H.D. Thoreau | Letters

February 9, 2014 · Updated 8:23 AM

In the Journal Jan. 15 several pages were devoted to the accounts of citizens protesting the roaring sounds of the new navy planes.

Years ago Henry David Thoreau protested a new tax he thought to be unfair. He was put in the pokey for refusal to pay.

His friend Ralph Waldo Emerson came to visit.  When he saw Thoreau he said, “Why Henry, what are you doing in there?” Thoreau responded, “Why, Ralph, what are you doing out there?”

Being a longtime Waldron protester I applaud my Waldron neighbors for standing up tall against the possibility of the drones zooming over the San Juans.

I also applaud Jack Pedigo for his splendid letter [Jan. 29 edition of the Journal: No free pass just because it’s Navy] telling us how it really is in the military and the actual meaning of protest.

Following WWI, Germany was smashed into the ground by the war and some bad treaties. The millions of starving German people were scratching around in the vast rubble striving to stay alive. Hitler arose from these chaotic ruins with vengeance in his heart.

One night 72 years ago, the large factory in which I was working shut down all the noisy machinery so that the employees could listen to Hitler’s speech on the radios in the plant. He screamed out in a white-hot voice enumerating all of the cruel atrocities heaped upon the German people.

It was not long until it was “Heil Hitler” all over the land. The people watched and knew what was happening, but they did not protest.

The fire broke out in Poland and soon enveloped the globe. Immediately millions of refugees were searching for blankets, water, food, medicine, a place to lie down. Millions were brutalized and maimed for life; more than 50 million were violently murdered.

These big, new navy ships costing us zillions of dollars and polluting our air at the rate of that from an aluminum factory are designed to kill more people faster and farther away than ever before.

The essence of war and all its machinery is death. There is a military police state forming here.

What are you doing out there Ralph, Joe, Ruth, Mary?

Bob Weaver, Friday Harbor


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