Randy Kehler inspirational story

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thanks to ace Recorder journalist Richie Davis for his recent article (Jan. 20) about how in 1969 Randy Kehler inspired Daniel Ellsberg to release the Pentagon Papers, now the topic of the excellent movie “The Post,” currently playing in Greenfield.

In 1980, the simple and brilliant idea that the USSR and the USA should stop all testing, production and deployment of nuclear arms came into prominence. Working with the Traprock Peace Center and the American Friends Service Committee, Randy got this idea put on the ballot all over western Massachusetts. It passed, mostly overwhelmingly, in 59 of 62 towns and inspired the National Nuclear Freeze Campaign, which chose Randy to be their first national coordinator.

In 1989, the IRS seized the home of Randy and his exceptional wife and partner Betsy Corner. Betsy and Randy had been refusing to pay their war taxes, but the IRS made a big mistake in targeting this remarkable couple. A two-year-long movement was launched, with Daniel Ellsberg, Marianne Williamson and Ram Dass coming to Franklin County to lend their support for this effort to change the direction of our country.

While our country continues to be run by militarists, nationalists and weapons manufacturers, that does not make disarmament one of the few movements that offer hope that we can save ourselves from our collective stupidity, if not insanity.

We have now entered the Orwellian world of permanent war, but Randy and Betsy’s life witness and their work of peace have inspired all who know them, and many who only know the effects of their work. Disarmament and peace remain the great hope for the future of our beloved life on earth, and we owe thanks to these courageous leaders.

The Rev. Douglas Wilson