I received the same letter you did from Lepoco--the one containing the full-color postcard of the nine arrestees looking, if I must say, rather chipper, considering the supposed seriousness of their mission.
My first reaction was to snicker at the ridiculousness of the name "Dent 9." Can they seriously be comparing themselves to the Catonsville 9? Please. This trivializes the concept of civil disobedience.
I used to pledge to Lepoco in the futile hope that, considering their origins and name, they might actually be instruments of progressive change in the Lehigh Valley or the Poconos. Instead they seem to be "concerned" about every region of the world except the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos, from East Timor to South Africa. What about East Texas and South Bethlehem? I explained this to the last Lepoco volunteer who called me during their annual pledge drive, and was met with total confusion.
Lepoco has been silent on the two issues arguably having the most impact on its immediate neighbors--rampant "upscale" development and the social parasite that is casino gambling. How does it expect to be heard on matters involving the larger community?
I take the adage "Think globally, act locally" to mean that if we want peace in the world, we must create peace in our communities. They take it to mean that if we want peace in the world, we must try to solve all of the world's problems using our own limited local tools. I think they are sincere; I also think they are wasting their time. They could, if they put their minds to it, really make a positive difference in their own community. And if many such small groups in each community around the world would do the same, we *would* have world peace.
It is no longer 1968; it is 2006. New tactics are needed for a new generation of foot soldiers. But we have to be ready to lace up our boots.
Speaking of soldiers: For what it cost to print and mail the postcard that Lepoco sent to me and you, Lepoco could have purchased one or more helmet upgrade kits, the purpose of which is to keep a Marine's brains from getting scrambled when he's hit with a blast. Go to http://www.operation-helmet.org/ to contribute. Remember, they're dying while we're debating.
The Dent Nine are not fryin', but they were all found guilty of summary offenses in Lehigh County Court today. Each was sentenced to a few hundred bucks and costs. I don't have an opinion on the criminality of their behavior. I don't wear a black dress. But in my twisted book of justice they were guilty of rudeness in the first degree, bullying in the second degree, and obstruction of other constituents who also had business in Dent's office that day.