PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend City Council members were moved when several residents impressed upon them the value of taking small steps toward a larger issue.
The council unanimously passed a resolution last week in support of a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons following similar actions earlier this spring by the Jefferson County commissioners and the county health department.
“My sense about what this means is not just moving away from the constant waste of money that, if it’s ever put to use, may cost us all of our lives, but also to free up the science and technology and engineering necessary to move towards a more useful strategy as a country,” said Port Townsend’s Doug Milholland, a resident who drove the efforts to pass the resolution.
“Let’s say yes to life.”
Forest Shomer, a speaker in May at the Global Earth Repair conference in at Fort Worden, said that whatever happens in the Key City reverberates.
“We’re right across the water from [Naval Magazine] Indian Island,” Shomer said. “We’ve heard the words so much, ‘Neither confirm nor deny,’ so we don’t know if, right at this moment, we’re sitting three miles away from nuclear weapons.
“It’s pretty personal to Port Townsend to make a statement of how we feel about that.”
Daniel Milholland of Port Townsend said he was proud of his father for being a peace activist in the community.
“Of all the many efforts he’s pursued in my lifetime, this is a resolution we can embrace as a community to move away from nuclear weapons, and it’s a very noble pursuit,” he said.
Lynn Nadeau of Port Townsend said she participated in a 4,000-mile cross-country journey in 1986, from the West Coast to the East Coast, in a peace walk that focused on nuclear disarmament education.
She made the trip with her 1-year-old on her back.
“It seems unimaginable that I could have done that at the age of 40,” Nadeau said. “But what I learned from that is, if you take one step at a time in a consistent direction, it gets you somewhere.
“This seems like a small thing,” she continued. “So what if a bunch of liberals living in an eco-cocoon in the Northwest say, ‘We don’t like the idea of destroying the world.’ But I think, however small it seems, it’s important that we do it.
“Those single steps add up.”
Council member Michelle Sandoval was impressed with the community response.
“Leadership requires us to have hope and optimism, and also have really clear vision of what our reality is, but I think our positions require aspirational resolutions,” she said.
“Certainly I would much rather hear from elected officials aspirational leadership than loathsome, mean-spirited tweets.”
Doug Milholland said the country should change course when it comes to nuclear warfare.
“Port Townsend, as I see it, is a small but significant waypoint as we move forward in that change,” he said.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].