Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post-Election Reconciliation: Signs of the Times

Above: In the spirit of peace, Glen Anderson, left, and Bob Zeigler each hold handmade signs at the northwest corner of Sylvester Park at Legion Way and Capitol Way on Wednesday afternoon in downtown Olympia.

By Janine Gates

Glen Anderson of Lacey, a retired state employee and local community organizer with the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation, has dedicated himself to stand or sit every Wednesday during the noon hour at the corner of Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia with hand-made signs since March 5, 1980 – that’s 36 ½  years. 

If ever there was a presidential post-election thought expressing Glen Anderson's feelings on what continued for many to be a gut-wrenching, emotionally wild day, his message, “Be gentle with one another,” summed it up. 

Those powerful, few words, written on a handmade sign, offered passersby an ever-so-brief suggestion of how to treat each other, while adding a calming, implied reminder, perhaps, to breathe.

Between waving to pedestrians and drivers, some who honk in apparent appreciation or agreement, Anderson said he specifically chose this sign to hold, one day after the election of president-elect Donald J. Trump.

“The political system and political culture is full of blame, full of shame, and trauma. This year, it has lifted up stuff that was already there so vigorously – anti-gay, anti-Muslim and racist sentiments – that it caught people by surprise,” said Anderson.

Anderson said both major party presidential campaigns were based on fear.

“Both parties are quite broken. The remedy for blame, shame, and trauma is not through the electoral option. If you want change, you have to work at the grassroots. That means sitting on street corners and talking to people. It means connecting….”

At that point, Bob Zeigler, another retired state employee and local community activist who is concerned about the climate crisis and the activities of the Port of Olympia, arrived to hold a sign. 

The sign he chose amongst an inventory of pre-prepared signs: “Act from love, not fear.”

Anderson also hosts and produces a monthly show related to peace, social justice, economics, the environment, and nonviolence on Thurston Community Media (formerly Thurston Community Television).

Anderson said his December program, which will be taped next week, will feature four community guests who will speak about the theme of healing from political blame, shame and trauma.

His guests will be Liv Monroe, a certified communications specialist in nonviolence and compassion, Robert Lovitt, a local Buddhist, Keylee Martineau, a mental health counselor who works with at-risk young adults at Community Youth Services, and the Reverend John Van Eeewyk, a local priest and clinical psychologist.

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation is also co-sponsoring the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 2016 Fall Retreat on Saturday, November 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Gwinwood Conference Center in Lacey. 

The theme will be “Interracial and Intergenerational Movement Building: Weaving Activism into Our Lives.”

The Fellowship of Reconciliation is a 100 year old pacifist organization founded at the beginning of World War I. 

For more information about the Fellowship of Reconciliation show, times, and how to access it through your computer, go to For informtion about the 2016 Fall Retreat, or the organization's many activities, go to or or contact Glen Anderson at (360) 491-9093 or

Above: Glen Anderson sits with his sign, “Create peaceful foreign policy,” at Percival Landing in downtown Olympia by The Kiss statue in October. Wind, rain, sleet, or snow, every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.Anderson is there with many others, including the Artesian Rumble Arkestra street band. Anderson has many signs to choose from, and encourages individuals to participate. “Just dress for the weather and show up!” laughed Anderson.