Walk To End The Wars
My name is Bill McDannell. I am a father of five and grandfather of four. I am a Vietnam era veteran and a former pastor of the United Methodist Church. On Saturday, November 4th, 2006 I began a walk from my home in Lakeside, California to Washington, D.C. carrying with me a petition to Congress and the President requesting an immediate acknowledgement that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are ended and the re-establishment of the Constitutional balance of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches of our government. I completed my walk on Saturday, August 18th, 2007.
My wife, Jonna O'Dell and I sold our home and most of our possessions in order to accomplish this. We purchased a 24 year old camper which served as my "support vehicle" on the walk and now serves as our home. Jonna (accompanied by our two Shetland Sheepdogs) would drive the camper a few miles ahead of me and I would walk until I caught up to her. We would repeat this process throughout the day. Along the way we would stop to speak to any individuals or groups that were interested in what we had to say. While we expected that the proceeds from our possessions would be sufficient to see us through the entire journey, a series of incidents caused our funds to be depleted by the time we reached Missouri. We were only able to complete the journey because of the generosity of people we met along the way and those who have come to be aware of our endeavor through this website. We are deeply indebted to each and every one of them.
As I write this, we are now in Washington, D.C. where we will remain until at least the middle of September. We will be spending this time attempting to meet with as many of our legislators as we can in order to present our petition to them, discuss the rationale behind it, and tell them of the experience of our journey. What we do after the middle of September is currently up in the air, but will involve our continued efforts to end the present wars and to re-establish a Constitutional balance in our governance.
As we are still offering our petition to our elected officials, your signature is still very much desired and appreciated. On the Petition page of the website you will find the petition itself, the rationale behind it, and be able to sign it if you so desire.
As I hope you will realize, while our efforts are highly political, they are in no way partisan: it matters little to us whether our nation is in the hands of a majority of either - or any - political party. But it matters greatly that, whoever may hold positions of power, they are guided at all times and in all things by principles that reflect faithful adherance to our Constitution, and conduct the affairs of state in a manner that is truly consistent with both common sense and the ethical and moral values that have made our nation great.
It has become clear to us that my walk across the continent has served as a prelude to further action. Over the next month, Jonna and I will be working on how best to transition from this beginning to an ongoing effort to promote our goals. We welcome your input and also welcome any opportunities to participate as speakers, writers or contributors to forums on Constitutional issues or issues of peace. Briefly stated, some of our main assertions are:
1. Governance of the United States of America must always be consistent with and faithful to our Constitution. It is never acceptable to curtail, remove or otherwise circumvent Constitutional directives in response to any perceived threat or desire to address a particular concern.
2. The true power of our nation lies in the hands of her individual citizens - and must remain firmly in the hands of the citizens. It is therefore necessary for each and every citizen to actively assume the responsibilities inherent in such power and to remain active, vocal and forceful in conscientiously exercising that power. We must foster a renewed effort to promote rational, responsible and respectful dialogue and debate that will afford our citizens both the opportunity to be heard and to participate meaningfully in our governance.
3. In order to continue to pursue her vision of greatness, our nation must continue forward - as she has struggled to do in the past - with a clear distinction and separation between matters of governance and matters of faith. While in our pursuit of the highest standards of human ethics and moral principles we may find ourselves convergent with certain elements of certain faiths, it is incumbent upon both our citizens and our leadership to continually ensure that our nation makes no law or institutes no structure that either gives preference to or hinders the free practice of religion by her citizens.
4. War, as it has been defined and exercised up to this point in human history has now become an anachronism, no longer capable of achieving its historic purposes. With the advent of the nuclear age - as well as the adoption of terror tactics - historical methods of waging war have been stripped of their effectiveness and must be abandoned. We must begin to lead a global search for an effective alternative to war that will accomplish the necessary objectives of sovereignty and security for all nations and peoples apart from the slaughter and destruction that can no longer secure those objectives.
5. We must call upon our nation's fourth estate - the national press, televised and electronic media - to resume their mandate to foster an informed citizenry. Our media, while pursuing the profitable avenue of entertainment, must not be permitted to abandon their crucial responsibility to provide impartial and accurate information to the public that is necessary in order to promote the general welfare of the republic.
This is what we are about. We hope that you will join us in our efforts to re-emphasize and restore the principles which serve as the foundation of our great and beautiful nation. In the near future we will be announcing more specifics of our small effort. We will also be making major revisions to our website that will reflect and facilitate our ongoing work. Please visit us again soon.