(Note: I think it was Bob Berquist’s idea that those of us who were concerned about the Vietnam War visit with random people in West Branch to find out what they thought about the war. I remember being very apprehensive about this idea, but Bob seemed to think it was a good idea, so a small group of us did. I remember walking up to houses and awkwardly saying we were Scattergood students who wanted to know what they thought about the war. We were stunned to find people were universally unhappy with the war and wanted peace as soon as possible. I remember how much this impressed me, that we shouldn’t have preconceived ideas about people and what they believe. I wish I had done a better job of remembering that, many times since then. Another example of the education we received at Scattergood.)
Journal April 19, 1970
The basic idea of reconciliation is oneness, recognizing how much alike we all are, rather than purposely seeking and promoting our differences. I believe one of our most important tasks is to spread this realization of oneness as far and as fast as possible. We are dependent upon one another. Popular concerns about pollution, necessitating acquaintance with ecology, makes us painfully aware that not only are we dependent upon one another, but we are dependent upon nature to a much greater degree than formerly recognized (note: by our non indigenous culture).
When we visited people in West Branch, talking about the war, we found that almost everyone is really concerned for peace, we are just divided as to how to attain this peace.
When I turned in my draft card it was not the individual against the establishment. The (draft board) clerk was not only friendly, but concerned. She tried to show me the legal way of opposing war. She gave me a chance to reconsider, but admitted that it had to be a personal decision.
There is a God, and He is one, and we, individually, strive to attain a oneness with Him and our fellow man. (Note: apologies for gender)
(Note: As I’ve learned these past few years, the Circle is a fundamental symbol of Native American culture, of how we are all connected to each other and to Mother Earth.)
April 20, 1970
I must write this in the dark, as there seems to be no other time anymore. I have read that it is easy to develop this skill, and useful in prison. Prison–the thought often haunts me though not really scares me. Recent Supreme Court decisions have made the delinquency regulations void, so my future is rather up in the air.
What is my future? This evening, just after lights out, I spoke to Steve–wondering if it were possible for a felon to be a lawyer. He wasn’t sure, having considered the question himself, with no research, though. I know he is considering going into law, and he said he had considered this question in relation to his draft status.
I have become interested in law recently because of Supreme Court decisions and my studies of human rights and international law.
April 28, 1970
After seeing a film about Dr. Martin Luther King I am once again impressed with the truth promoted by him, by Jesus, Gandhi, satyagraha, Quakers… who say if you are afraid to risk your life for the truth, you are already dead.
Isn’t a prison term, relatively short at that, a small price to pay when compared to the burden of an uneasy conscience?
April 30, 1970
Can one be open minded about something that one values highly, or that has cost one a great deal? I made a decision about the draft. I value that decision and it will probably cost me a great deal, indeed it already has. I have been afraid to question this decision, this commitment, because the cost of a mistake in this matter would be very great. I made this decision because I thought I was certain enough about my beliefs that my conviction in them would pull me through. I have been afraid to re-examine these beliefs because it would be very difficult to take the consequences while I felt that the actions that led to these consequences were a mistake.