I was reminded recently that it was 10 years ago on Feb. 19 that the Ely City Council passed a resolution urging the U.S. government “to pursue all peaceful diplomatic alternatives to disarm Iraq,” “to support the full completion of the UN weapons inspection,” and stating that it “opposes preemptive war against Iraq”—only to retract the resolution after public outcry a week later (Feb. 25). I was not here ten years ago, but I have heard that there were many ugly and hurtful words and acts directed at the supporters of the original resolution in the weeks that followed.
Since moving to Ely I have learned that there are some long-held resentments and suspicions as well as some deep divisions in the Ely community. But lately, I have also begun to hear a longing for a more peaceful community, for more civil communication, for a “Third Way,” as some people put it. Why can’t we just talk to each other across these divides?
A hopeful sign is the openness with which Mayor Petersen and the city council are pursuing the issues concerning the city buildings. Citizens are invited to several public meetings to learn about the options and voice their opinions or to email their comments if they are unable to attend meetings.
Another hopeful sign is the proposal for a peace pole to be erected in Whiteside Park. My hope is that it will be a symbol not just of “peace on earth” out there somewhere, but of our desire to become a more peaceful community right here.