A while back town officials were soliciting names, and in my view, visions of what to call Kingston … what they wanted Kingston to become per se. Well, may I suggest “Kingston, Port of Peace”, or, “Kingston, OutPort of Peace”. (An “outport” is an outlying and smaller fishing port or village along coastal regions such as found on Newfoundland.) Being in my fourth decade as a peace activist, and remaining publicly active in support of peace in most larger towns from Port Townsend down and around Olympia and then all the way up to Bellingham for parts of three years now, what stands out to me is how perfectly suited the Port, and Town of Kingston is to adopting the vision, if not a new economy, for being Puget Sound’s principal Port of Peace. But more importantly, it’s the sense of the community itself that comfortably carries this message. As our country sheds the old economic concepts, such as war is good for the economy (we have been in a continuous war against something seemingly since the early 90s and we have constructed the worst economy in well over half a century), and moves into a new and hopefully “green economy,” perhaps now is the time for Kingston to help create something new in contrast to the number of rather militarized communities all along the shores of the Puget Sound. The fit seems perfect.
The efforts to improve, beautify and bring more life to the downtown and port area are revealing an amazingly picturesque physical and pedestrian space which will work at its best by becoming a more popular “destination” for restaurant goers, entertainment seekers, mariners, arts crafters, community event attendees, professional services seekers, daydreamers, artists, kite flyers and hopefully, year round shoppers. Part of the commerce that could come about are some retail and on-line shops for peaceful, green, and environmental art products such as books and the like, and maybe even many annual “peaceful times and gatherings” serving the Puget Sound will take place celebrating the “peaceful world calendar.” With the throughput of ferry traffic, Kingston being the Puget Sound’s Port of Peace would enter and remain in traveller’s thoughts as they both land and depart from the beautiful waterfront.
In addition to “seeing” Kingston becoming a town that one can imagine as “giving peace a chance,” I have always visualized a Fourth of July celebration that did not have skies exploding in aerial bombs as darkness arrives. The annual shock and awe in the skies may be one of the military’s most interesting product placement and desensitizing activities. If one accepts that peace is patriotic, can you imagine a Fourth of July where from morning until the wee hours, there is music and other performances on stage beginning with activities for the children earlier on, and then winding down with a grand peaceful musical party at night for the adults? Events, booths and gatherings all day ready to serve not only the Fourth of July parade, but also the thousands of peace loving activists and their children who, knowing that the skies above will not explode in armaments at the end of the day, will travel from afar and spend their entire Fourth of July at the remarkable little “Port of Peace.” Imagine Skateboards for Peace, Regattas for Peace, Equestrians for Peace, Coed Softball for Peace, Golf for Peace, Bikers for Peace, Firefighters for Peace, Artists for Peace … actually, almost any other specific group “for Peace” all adding to a tapestry of day-long peace based activities which culminate in the sounds of Music for Peace serving the evening’s celebration instead of fireworks for? Imagine this all happening at the shoreline of Puget Sound’s Port of Peace every Fourth of July.
In the end, we need to imagine better things for the world and perhaps it should begin with both imagining and doing better things for our communities first. Stepping out in front and visualizing this beautiful town and its beautiful inhabitants becoming something unique, profitable, desirable, worthy and long lasting such as Puget Sound’s Port of Peace might be a very good idea that is long, long overdue. Why don’t we gather as a community and give it all a chance? It seems that almost everything is in place for a major shift in this country … so, lets get it started … let’s be the community and people that we want to become. Lets work together to put more love and joy on the ground instead of more shock and awe in the skies.
Robin Hordon, Kingston